A wife murdered.
A killer at large.
A man of God with a painful secret.
When Tom Greer’s wife Joan was murdered and her killer never caught, he left Myerton determined to leave the painful memories behind. Ten years later, now-Father Tom Greer returns as the temporary pastor of Saint Clare’s Parish in Myerton–where he married and mourned his wife. Assigned there for four months, Father Tom’s only desire is to serve God’s people quietly then leave again. He has no desire to revisit the past.
But the past won’t leave Father Tom alone…
Secrets uncovered and a mysterious encounter in the confessional forces Father Tom to confront painful truths about Joan and her murder. When a police detective–a woman from Father Tom’s own past–refuses to reopen the case, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
It turns out to be a fateful decision, for Father Tom has secrets of his own…
Fans of Father Brown and PBS’s Masterpiece series Grantchester will love this first book in a new mystery series featuring Father Tom Greer.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I got the core idea for the book about 2 years ago. I fell in love with the concept, and I kept toying with it but did not sit down to write. Then, a cancer diagnosis in 2018 helped me realize that if I was going to become a writer, I needed to write. After my cancer went into remission, I sat down in August 2019 and began the first draft of what became The Penitent Priest.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Other than the main character, Father Tom Greer, and his backstory–a later-life vocation who entered the priesthood after the unsolved murder of his wife–the other characters developed along with the story.
James Mathis was born in Orlando, Florida in the halcyon days when the land was covered with orange groves and swamps, with nary a mouse in sight. He discovered his love for writing in high school, though history remained his first passion. After getting a PhD in the subject from the University of Florida, he began an enjoyable career as an archivist with the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Following a bout with cancer, James rediscovered his love for writing, beginning a series of mysteries based on the germ of an idea that he had been toying with for some time. Father Tom Greer is now among his best friends and most trusted confidant and the two are looking forward to many adventures in the near future.
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