A Murder of Saints: A Novel
by Chris Miller
Sophie Fields is a little girl tortured by her memories of Damien Smith, a much-loved and respected church elder with a secret lust for the unmentionable. After his misdeeds are covered up by church leaders, she climbs to the roof of her house and jumps to her death, right in front of her shocked brother, Charlie.
Twenty years later, detective Harry Fletcher is still haunted by the personal demons associated with the church cover-up. After losing his faith, his wife, and now his partner, Fletcher learns that Charlie Fields has come back to town with one mission: to kill everyone responsible for his sister’s death. It is Fletcher’s job to track and stop the crazed killer. But as it becomes clear who the main targets are, Fletcher finds himself in the midst of a moral quagmire. Although he sees justice in Charlie’s crusade, the killer seems to be taking out others not responsible for his family’s destruction. As Fletcher and his new partner battle each other in a test of ideology and limits of the law, the real demons show up and change everything.
In this chilling tale of suspense, revenge, and evil, a police detective wrestles with his moral conscience while attempting to stop a serial killer avenging his sister’s death.
A Word from the Author
The inspiration for this novel came when I was a young man attending a youth group at a non-denominational Christian church in our town. An elder there was found to have been molesting several girls, and he ended up going to jail and dying there. Through it all, I was stunned. Most everyone was stunned. This guy was respected, not only in the church, but in the entire community. Wealthy, self-made man, veteran, and very giving with his substantial wealth.
Then I witnessed the backlash on families, on relationships in the church. The church actually split not terribly long after, and then there were two churches from the one. In the midst of this, the ‘what if?’ questions started cropping up in my mind. What if one of these poor girls killed herself as a result? What if the whole thing had been covered up by the other church leaders? What if someone came back for revenge many years later? What would this situation have done to such a person, and how would they have changed?
All of these things swirled in my mind for several years until, one day, a story was born. I worked on it, wrote it, thinking surely this would need to be Christian Fiction at first, but soon realizing during rewrites that that angle just didn’t fit. It was dark. Gritty. Mean. Violent. And so it shed that cloak and turned into the relentless, R-rated tome it is today.
And even though I wrote it, it still haunts me. It’s totally fictional. But the ‘what ifs?” continue to linger in my mind…
(Chris Miller, November 2017)