Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I’ve written short suspense stories during my career as an author, but not in the form of a “prequel,” a sort of teaser for a book already published. However, when Isabel Anders, co-author of Chant of Death and editor of a Kindle ebook, An Essential Evil, presented the idea to me, I spun out a short suspense story before I left Sewanee, Tennessee. Since many readers have asked for more background about Father Malachi, the protagonist in the short story’s sequel, Chant of Death, Isabel and I focused on this character as the central figure for a prequel in a Louisiana setting.

In the prequel, An Essential Evil, readers are introduced to Malachi Marchand, a clinical psychiatrist in his life prior to becoming a Religious and his problems concerning his deranged wife, Virginia. Malachi’s relationship with his bizarre spouse almost seems to be an “essential evil” that leads him into a vocation at St. Andrew’s Abbey in southern Louisiana. The route into this monastic life is a deeply disturbed one involving the bizarre murder of a dog, an exorcism, a suicide, and Malachi’s crisis of spirit following his wife’s death.

The prequel, of course, precedes Chant of Death, a Louisiana mystery in which Fr. Malachi, now Abbot of St. Andrew’s Monastery, faces the challenge of becoming a clerical detective and gets involved in problems concerning the seven deadly sins as they are committed by a group of chanting monks at the Louisiana monastery. Although Fr. Malachi has entered what he thinks is a quiet contemplative life, he is forced to face physical and spiritual assaults, even murder, as he carries out a Benedictine lifestyle during post-modern times. He discovers that life inside a monastery is sometimes as problematical as life “on the outside.”

The prequel is available only in Kindle format and can be ordered from Amazon. Its sequel, Chant of Death, was published by Pinyon Press in Montrose, Colorado.
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