Cover image for Unholy order : a Paul Devlin mystery
Unholy order : a Paul Devlin mystery
Heffernan, William, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [2002]

Physical Description:
275 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers"--Cover.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



The leader of an elite squad of NYPD homicide detectives, maverick man-hunter Paul Devlin returns in an electrifying novel of suspense that plumbs terrible secrets hidden in the untouchable world of the righteous.


No evil is more frightening than
the horror tha masquerades as good.

In a city as huge and unpredictably dangerous as New York, murder is sadly unremarkable. A new slaying, however, has tossed the red ball squarely in Detective Paul Devlin's lap. This victim is a woman, her throat and midsection viciously slashed open, a lethal dose of heroin found in her system. But this outrage is different. This corpse was that of a nun.

With the press turning the killing into a carnival -- with blistering heat coming down from the mayor's office, One Police Plaza, and the Archdiocese -- Devlin needs to find a murderer, and fast. But suddenly walls are being erected in his path, and powerful threats are being made to stall an investigation that is leading Paul Devlin and his people in a shocking direction: into the secret, fortified heart of the Catholic church itself -- and toward a terrifying conspiracy cloaked in silence, piety, and blood.

And death keeps coming. A seemingly uncontainable plague of carnage is cutting down those who have dedicated their lives to a fierce, vengeful God. As the body count grows-as the pieces of a fiendishly twisted puzzle slowly fall into place -- Devlin realizes that the web of terror extends wider than anyone ever imagined, into virtually every level of society. In domains sacred and secular -- among the city's top cops, priests, and politicians-no one is incorruptible. And no one is safe, least of all Paul Devlin, as a desperate hunt for a nightmarish truth sparks a bloodchilling vendetta aimed at one dedicated policeman . . . and those he loves most dearly.

Never before has the dark, urban wasteland of cops and maniacs been more vividly portrayed -- and never have the saber-sharp storytelling skills of Edgar Award winner William Heffernan been as expertly wielded -- than in this intensely riveting tale of sin and sacrifice that solidifies the author's standing as a true master of the crime thriller.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Former New York Daily News reporter Heffernan brings back his popular series hero, Inspector Paul Devlin, who must piece together a puzzle involving a dead nun (who may have been smuggling drugs in from Colombia), a murdered priest (who was dying of AIDS), and an offshoot of the Catholic Church that may be home to a conspiracy of epic proportions. It's a fascinating story, but it is occasionally marred by the author's clunky expository technique. Several early scenes are constructed so that one of the characters can supply information via lectures to the reader; these long monologues are interrupted periodically by clumsy questions, as when Devlin asks a priest to explain what he means by the term cult. Does Heffernan expect us to believe Devlin doesn't know the difference between a cult and a religious order? Clumsy exposition aside, the book is solidly plotted and decently suspenseful. There's plenty for mainstream thriller fans to enjoy, provided they can avoid being offended when Heffernan climbs atop his soapbox. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

There's a lot to like about Edgar Award winner Heffernan's (The Dinosaur Club; Red Angel) f1fth thriller featuring Paul Devlin and his elite NYPD homicide squad. First, like Polly, Heffernan knows how to put the kettle on and keep it boiling right till the end. No mean feat. Second, his characters, however dire the circumstances, never lose their sense of humor. Even his villains, a motley and murderous crew, usually find something with which to amuse themselves as they go about their grisly work. Third, the author's people never do anything stupid. Devlin's case is the proverbial time bomb: a nun, just returned from Colombia, is found dead, her body mutilated. Apparently, she was forced to swallow condoms filled with heroin and then murdered for their retrieval. She was a member of a special, and most powerful, order in the Catholic Church, the Opus Christi, which is reluctant to cooperate with the investigation. If this weren't enough to complicate Devlin's job, Catholic priests known to have AIDS are being murdered alphabetically. How does the killer know who they were and where to find them? Devlin knows he has very little time before the press blows up the story, while the archdiocese comes down on the mayor to cover up the uglier details. Heffernan builds enough tension to have his readers squirming in their chairs. His cops are smart, his villains deliciously evil. This is the stuff we read thrillers for. Agent, Gloria Loomis. (Jan. 29) Forecast: With The Dinosaur Club currently under development by Warner Brothers, a teaser chapter in the mass market edition of Red Angel (Dec.), a regional (New England) author tour, plus possible controversy from the depiction of the Catholic Church, (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved