When I submit reviews of thrillers for Critics at Large, I do not usually include them in this site because they are not relevant to the two volumes of That Line of Darkness. I make an exception here because what starts out as a police procedural turns into a Gothic mystery.
Over two years ago, Lawrence Krauss posted an article in The Guardian about the vehement animosity expressed toward individuals who were not believers. A 16-year-old atheist from Rhode Island had to take time off from school after being threatened and targeted by an online hate campaign for requesting that a Christian banner be removed from her school. She is even described on the radio by a state representative as an "evil little thing." Krauss also alludes to a study that suggested that atheists were among the most distrusted groups in society on par with rapists. The article goes on to suggest that science itself has become suspect among believers. The most chilling implication of this piece is the length that believers will go to disparage and demonize unbelievers, including scientists. It convinced me that Philip Kerr’s Prayer (Putnam, 2014), his latest standalone novel, has an unnerving basis in reality. Kerr, who is probably most well-known for his historical crime novels featuring the sardonic German detective, Bernie Gunther, has now turned his attention to the role of faith in modern society and to its dark underbelly. Faith in God—or not—initially appears to be the underlying theme throughout Prayer.