Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Meet Saint Tommy:NYPD in first in series: Hell Spawn: A Catholic Action Horror Novel by Declan Finn -

I can smell evil. I show mercy to the lesser criminals - the desperate. Even those I’ve put behind bars seem to like me. But now there’s a serial killer bringing darkness beyond imagination to my city. I can smell his stench a mile away. But how can I prove it?

How do you do forensics on a killer possessed by a demon?

Odd Saint  - My name is Detective Thomas Nolan, and I am a saint. This is neither boasting nor an exaggeration. I only had an inkling on the morning I chased Anthony Young, purse snatcher…again.  Kid was four years older than my son. Young Anthony (see what I did there?), a 20th time offender, had upgraded to double duty, on this day both snatching the purse as well as the iPhone of Malinda Jones. 

Malinda was one of many careless New Yorkers who are so deep into their phones that they barely registered oncoming traffic, to heck with noticing a thief running up on them. My radar was already up after Anthony bumped against me as he brushed past. I didn’t bother checking for theft. I had nothing in the pockets of my tan overcoat, and my pants pockets were out of the reach of even a skilled thief. 

I merely continued my morning offering as the Opus Dei had taught me and was about to go into the Our Father. Then Anthony charged forward, sweeping Malinda’s purse from her shoulder, and plucking the iPhone from her hand. It was the latest model, over a thousand dollars’ worth of technology in one easy-to-steal package. 

Obviously, Anthony didn’t see the all-caps NYPD emblazoned in gold letters on the front AND back of my policeman-blue baseball cap. To make matters worse—for him—was that he did this in front of the mental health court for Queens, heralded by the black wrought-iron fence about ten feet high, which was serviced by the NYPD as their security. Further down the block was a housing community with its own private security. In short, there was no real way that Anthony was going to get to the end of the (admittedly very long) block. I was still under an obligation to chase the idiot. 

“Freeze! Police!” I barked before I took off after him. As expected, it made him run faster, but he obviously heard me, so he had his fair warning. I pounded along the pavement behind Anthony, who was built for speed over anything else. He was short and slight, but he could run. I was bigger, a bit over six foot, and broad in the shoulders. Every big man will tell you one thing—running was just a great way to destroy your ankles and your knees if you do it right. I was a lumbering truck chasing after a motorcycle, but the moment Anthony ran out of gas, the impact would be similar. 

As I ran, I mentally recited the Our Father and was on the Hail Mary when the strangeness happened. Suddenly, I could see myself ahead of Anthony… while at the same time, standing in front of him, I saw myself chase behind Anthony. It was a strange, vivid experience, with each view of Anthony as clear as the highest definition television—with almost more clarity than real life. It was odd, but I was also too busy to ponder it. I held out an arm, leaned into it, and Anthony just ran into my arm. He clothes-lined himself so hard, his feet left the ground. I swept back under him as fast as I could, catching him just before his head hit the concrete. It wouldn’t do for him to have brain damage over a stolen purse—it wasn’t like he had little gray cells he could afford to lose. I smiled into his face. “Hi Anthony. Would you like to tell me your rights? We’ve done this dance too often.” 

He merely smiled widely and shrugged, even as I hauled him to his feet. “Eh, you win some, you lose some. Still ain’t gonna serve any jail time.” Anthony was a poster boy for juvenile recidivism and a great example for anyone who agitates for prosecuting all criminals as adults. He wasn’t necessarily a bad kid, but he could use an extended stay in Boys Town—or an overnight in Rikers Island to scare him straight. 

“It would help if you won any,” I suggested. 

“Can I cuff myself this time?” he asked as I took his wrists behind his back and cuffed them. “Guess not.” 

I rolled my eyes. “Anthony, have you considered that if you want money, you get a real job?” 

He laughed. “You mean work for a living? Hey, that’s racist, yo.” I shook my head and sighed. This kid was going to give me a headache. 

“Meet me halfway, find a crime you’re at least good at?” 

Malinda caught up to us at long last. She was 48, 4’9”, and 180 pounds, so it took her a while. She looked at the perpetrator and frowned. “Anthony Young! I should have known. Just wait until I tell your gramma! Wait until I tell Father Pawson!” Anthony finally looked concerned. 

“Aw, come on, Missus Jones, do you have to? I didn’t know it was you.” Malinda wound up for a smack to the back of his head, and I twisted him around to put myself between them. 

“Mrs. Jones, you can’t do that. I’ve got him cuffed already.” 

Malinda glowered. “Fine. But you take him right to the station. I’m going to meet you there. Taking my stuff. How dare you, Anthony!” She stormed off ahead of us, not even waiting for me to hand her stuff back. I pocketed her phone and slung the purse over my shoulder—it was big enough to be a satchel, if worse came to worse. 

“How’d you get in front of me, anyway?” he asked. “I don’t remember you being that fast.” 

I blinked. That was a good question, to which I didn’t have a good answer. I had heard that deja vu was simply a matter of slow communication between two halves of the brain. Perhaps it was serious brain lag? No, that explanation didn’t even work for me at the time, but since I didn’t have a good answer for him, I merely told him the truth: “I haven’t the foggiest notion.”


You know, it's kinda difficult to think that you're reading a horror novel when you keep smiling and thinking of this as a spoof. You know, something like ghost busters, the theme that kept coming into my mind as I read... But Tommy Nolan, NYPD, was not chasing ghosts--he was a legit New York police officer who walked the streets of New York, and sometimes ran after those who break the law...

The first thing you learn about Tommy is that, while he is running, he is saying prayers, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. ...now and at the hour of our death....then starting, the Our Father... Seriously, I kid you not... I had heard of the need to "pray without ceasing..." but I never really had a real notion of how that could happen... But, then, I'm not a Saint-in-training...

Of course, Tommy did not consider himself a saint, nor even one in training, since most saints are named "after" death... But, I've told you too often about God Incidents happening, not to be willing to believe that this man was, indeed, doing God's work! Even if he was a character in a book...lol!

(By the way, I watched a few Hallmark movies over the last few days and several were referred to as Godwink movies. Well, of course, they meant the same as my favorite saying God Incidents...Still, it was fun to see others have realized that there were sometimes things that happened that were too clearly more than coincidence!)

Now, Tommy suddenly had a gift, that wasn't too pleasant...he could smell something that smelled worse than rotten... He could smell evil... And he smelled it when he got back to the station to again arrest young Anthony... As soon as he got there, Tommy smelled something rancid...and he had to find out what it was!

And it led to:

The source was what most civilians would picture as a “typical” junkie—the type who has obviously hit bottom, He was anemic, malnourished, scrawny, and painfully underweight. At 5’8”, he may have weighed all of one hundred pounds. His hair was black, stringy, and greasy, and his eyes were a pale, watery blue. I couldn’t tell if he was about to cry or bite someone’s nose off … or just curl up into a ball and die, since he looked close enough anyway. Sunken cheeks, protruding cheekbones, and he hurt to look at. His hands were cuffed behind his back, but the elbows were so bony, I was concerned he could stab someone with those alone. And he smelled like death, decay, and made the stench of garbage trucks smell sweet in comparison. “Okay, Hayes,” one of the officers told him, “you’re almost done. You can be in your cell in a bit.” As I approached Hayes, he started, his back becoming ramrod straight. He turned to look at me. His face went from being passive and wishy-washy to a mask of rage.  He roared loud enough to hurt my ears and make the cops around him flinch. With a loud crack, his arms shot forward. He’d dislocated his left thumb to get out of the cuffs. He grabbed the nearest policeman, hurling him across the room with maniacal strength. The cop slammed into a desk, then smashed through a window. The cop behind him grabbed on, and the perp whirled, smacking him aside. He grabbed the cop’s nightstick, and cut the leg out from under the officer... Hayes whirled on me, bellowing, “Era uoy tahw wonk I!” Then he lunged.
And that's when Tommy met his first...demon... A chase like no other begins when the demon moves from body to body to outrun Saint Tommy! 

My first read by Finn, A Pius Man, took readers into the Vatican and I thoroughly enjoyed those novels by this author... He has become a prolific novelist and moves from one genre to another without any trouble. Using the Catholic Church often, he places those with deep faith into fantastically, sometimes supernatural, action. Indeed Tommy Nolan will learn of God's gifts to him as he tackles a demon who can live in and move from one person to another... And the only way to track him was by Tommy's ability to identify evil...by its smell! Imagine trying to write up a report on each of those attempted arrests! Seriously it's fun to watch as God gives chase through humans!

Do check out others reviews for Finn's books here at Book Readers Heaven... Use his name for a search and you'll have a list going back to 2013 with his Pius Series! Finn includes his own opinions re the abortion issue, so if you cannot deal with a different opinion from your own, pass this one by...rather than give it a low rating as some have done.  

Fortunately I don't have to choose, but I have to admit that the hint of humor in meeting the Saint Tommy Character has shown just how Declan's writing has soared into big time in the last decade! I loved this first book and already have the second one! And, whether or not you already know that God CAN move mountains, the climax of this story will give you a great way to consider just how His miracles could work...if you were a saint...in...training... Do check this one out!

God Bless,


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