ENTER BY THE NARROW GATE
David Carlson, Coffeetown Press Softcover $14.95 (244pp), 978-1-60381-391-4
The first of a new series, Enter by the Narrow Gate follows a Detroit police detective and an Orthodox monk as they strive to solve two harrowing new mysteries in Santa Fe. Measured and restrained, the novel’s prose is rich with religious references and imagery, which add to the unique depth of the novel.
Father Fortis is an intelligent, warmhearted Orthodox monk who is troubled to one day hear the news of Sister Anna’s death. The young nun had been murdered at St. Mary’s, a community of monks, in a ritualistic manner, and Father Fortis knows as well as anyone that the nun’s death could destroy St. Mary’s. Meanwhile, his old friend Detective Christopher Worthy, returns to Santa Fe in order to work on a missing-persons case involving a young college student. The two team up in order to work on their respective cases, each drawing from his own strengths in order to advance the investigation.
The rapport between Worthy and Fortis is easy and enjoyable, and the double case ensures that Enter by the Narrow Gate never slows in action. Each man is an outsider to the community—fortis is only on sabbatical, while Worthy is a Midwesterner who is in Santa Fe only to solve a case. This fact, along with the two men’s histories, provides an additional bond between the unlikely friends as they race to solve each crime before any additional victims are claimed. Enter by the Narrow Gate is ideal for those who value quirky characters and unusual pairings in their detective fiction.