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On the Bookshelf: Operation Wormwood


Darlene Kettle is a native of Port aux Basques now living in Nova Scotia. One of her favourite things to do is curl up with a glass of wine and a good book. Her opinions are entirely her own.

This is a crime thriller involving the Catholic Church. Archbishop Patrick Keating of the local diocese in St. John’s has been suffering from severe nosebleeds and unexplainable thirst which cannot be quenched by water, as it tastes bitter to the patient. The doctors at the Health Science Centre in St. John’s are at a loss in identifying the disease. They are stumped and are in search of answers for this mysterious disease.

As more cases start to appear, the common theme points to people who are child molesters and as they turn up one by one, the local RNC notice the similarities between the patients, all men until they come across a female patient, Mary Power, a school principal who had taught in the coastal communities of Labrador for 35 years.

Between the local RNC, the medical community and the Catholic Church, the term Wormwood arises. Sister Pius, a nun from the local Convent, informs them that it is a disease created by God to kill perpetrators of heinous crimes against children. People who abuse and molest children. Of course the police are buying none of it.

Dr. Luke Gillespie and Nurse Agatha Catania are at a loss for words as they are medical professionals and look to science to solve the mystery of this illness.

Sgt. Nicholas Myra of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has his work cut out for him and in all of his career has never come across anything remotely comparable to this situation.

Parish Father, Peter Cooke, is called upon by His Holiness, the Pope, to help draw people back into the church. Father Cooke gives a news conference outside of the Catholic Church and the whole world is speechless needless to say. The next church service has the church filled to capacity and beyond.

Meanwhile the Archbishop is slowly dying and his episodes of bleeding leave him spent and the doctors have to give him blood transfusions to help keep him alive. His assistant, Father Charles Horan sits outside his room waiting in the hopes that the doctors can help.

As more cases arrive, Sgt. Nicholas Myra is scrambling to get a task force in place to help with the demands of the history of these patients as they arrive in the Emergency Department. He is sickened at the stories of abuse and torture that he uncovers. Operation Wormwood is born.

Is there really such a disease that punishes these child molesters? The members of the Catholic Church believe so. And it lies upon the medical team to search for scientific answers for the explanation, all while having doubts if the church is correct in their belief that Wormwood exists.

This book is a thrill of a ride that keeps you on the edge, trying to connect all of the characters as it delves into an important topic.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

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