Over the years, Philip Caputo has earned a reputation as a master storyteller. Caputo’s novels are as character-driven as they are plot-driven, and that finely tuned balance seldom fails to make them memorable and moving reads. Regular Caputo readers have come to expect nothing less from the author by now, and Some Rise by Sin, his latest, will not disappoint them.
Father Timothy Riordan, a Harley-riding Franciscan friar, has been exiled by his Order to the small, isolated town of San Patricio, Mexico, where he maintains a church and lives with two other priests. The only other American expat in the town is Dr. Lisette Moreno, a divorcee who studied medicine in Mexico and wants to work where she can make a real difference in the lives of her patients and their families. By now, Riordan and Lisette have settled into the slower pace of life they expected to find in San Patricio, but all of that changes when a local vigilante group and a ruthless drug lord, La Mariposa, go to war.
For Lisette, other than making travel to remote Indian villages in the area more difficult and more dangerous than before, life continues to go on much as it always has from her base clinic in San Patricio. She remains determined to bring medical treatment to as many of the country’s poor, especially the children, as possible, and she readily accepts the new travel risks that come with the territory. It would not, however, be nearly so simple for Riordan.
Because the local economy that has supported the region for generations is a failing one, San Patricio is ripe recruiting territory for a drug lord needing young men to sustain and expand his operation. The area is a predominately Catholic one, and because even the young men now beating and killing for the drug king fear spending an eternity in hell, they tell Riordan things in the confessional box that they dare tell no one else. The young men believe that the sanctity of the confessional will protect them from the law, and Riordan is determined not to violate their trust in him and the church.
But when San Patricio begins to tear itself apart as brutal murder follows brutal murder, Father Riordan is faced with the moral dilemma of his life. By maintaining the sanctity of the confessional, has he become a mere accomplice in the murders of his own parishioners, making it even more likely that more and more of them will suffer and die? When the local police and the army team up to demand that Riordan reveal the secrets he learns in the confessional, the priest finds that the decision he has to make is not as easy as he had expected it would be.
Some Rise by Sin is a story of good versus evil, but as Father Riordan learns for himself, it is not always easy to tell the two apart.
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)