Book review: Living on a prayer

By Sheila Quigley
Reviewed by

I'm a fan of crime novels, but picking the right one can sometimes be tricky. A good story combined with a nice paperback cover is sure to get my attention, but it's not until you actually start reading that you notice if it's any good. At that point things can go either way. A crime novel that looked very promising can disappoint, while a novel that you did not really expect too much of can surprise you. Living on a prayer (2006) by Sheila Quigley falls into the latter category.

This novel is set in a small town in the UK, where just before Christmas a teenager commits suicide. His mother is convinced he couldn't have killed himself and the local police also find the circumstances of his death suspicious. Once they start looking into the boys' life they find out he and his friends were involved in all kinds of stuff, including a weird, creepy, religious cult. Whenever a religious cult shows up in a crime novel you know that there's bound to be trouble, but the drama that unfolds goes far beyond what I expected. One by one, the teenagers end up dead and it's up to detective Lorraine to catch whoever's responsible.

The plot is not very original, but it is told very well. They way in which it's written, detailed yet fast paced, combined with the fact that it doesn't get predictable until you get towards the end made me not want to put this novel down. It's not always easy to create suspense, but this novel nails it.

Another thing I really liked is the teenagers described in this novel. They are basically a group of troubled kids, who don't quite fit in, mainly because of their bad home situation. But through the religious cult they find a place where they belong. The cult might end up being rather dangerous and creepy, but at least they have made some lasting friendships. I really felt for these teens and I cared about what was going to happen to them. It almost made the cliché of the cult be ok.

One thing I didn't like about this book is that a lot of the dialogue was written in dialect. I guess the author was trying to capture exactly how these people spoke, but I just found it very distracting and annoying. Then again, that is all I could think of that I did not like. This crime novel was a nice surprise and I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy the genre.


  1. Oooh this sounds right up my street! Another to add to the wish list!

  2. Suzie, let me know what you think of it once you've read it!


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