Three brutal murders. One mysterious journal.

Emerging criminal defense attorney Sam Young has always known he had a gift. Or a curse. Minor psychic abilities, he sometimes thinks. Sam is hired by an attractive young nun, Camille Paradisi, to help discover the identity of a serial killer before her Pastor is exposed for not having turned in the man after a confession – thereby allowing another murder to occur. While Sam’s psychic abilities seemingly enhance as he investigates the case, he quickly learns that the enigmatic Camille is not telling him everything.

Camille asks Sam to read sections of an old journal anonymously mailed to the Church which she tells him she believes may have been authored by the killer/confessor. The journal purports to tell the life story of a man with mind control and other special powers who claims to be a descendant of the fallen angels cast of out heaven by God. Sam ponders its relation to the case while using his legal and investigative skills to establish the identity of the killer. As he learns more about the murders, the mystery author, and Camille, Sam begins to realize the so called “Rosslyn Ripper” case may have implications beyond his imagination – including about his own past.

After narrating 5 of his books, Chris Leibig has become one of my favorite authors. They’re smart, entertaining, engrossing and addictive. His latest, ALMOST MORTAL, is the jewel in his crown and lives up to all these adjectives. Needless to say, I recommend it highly.

Steve Carlson

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Book Club Questions

  1. At the beginning of the novel, Sam and Amelia are representing an obviously guilty, and potentially dangerous, sex offender, and using tactics to attempt to secure a conviction for a much lesser offense. Does this strike you as unethical? Immoral? Does it inform your first impression of them as characters in any way?
  2. Sam wakes up hungover on day two of the novel and it quickly becomes apparent that he is a daily binge drinker. Does this have an effect on his work? His life? His decisions? If so, is it always a bad one?
  3. The main backstory character is introduced in Chapter 4. Immediately the character claims special powers, and, indeed, asserts that his mother rose from the dead like Jesus. What was your initial thought about the mental state of this character after that Chapter? When, it at all, did that impression change?
  4. Are there any good or bad characters in the novel? If you had to name one bad character, who would it be? Why?
  5. The backstory character makes a subtle assault on God throughout the novel. He essentially argues that God is unjust on many levels – not least of all for being so silent and unforgiving. Is this a legitimate critique on religion? Does the Bible conceded that there is more than one God. If so, can humans be asked to worship a God with so human a trait as jealousy?
  6. Throughout the novel, Sam uses subtle mind control, whether he always knows it or not, to manipulate people. Does this make him unlikeable? Does it matter that he thinks he is using it for good?
  7. Place the Sparf character on a moral spectrum. Does his hard childhood justify his harsh treatment of defendants? Or is he the perfect prosecutor?
  8. If Camille/Trinity and Fifika were real characters, would you feel sorry for them? Can their sins be forgiven by their unusual heritage? Is their ultimate goal a purely selfish one? Can they be justified in marginalizing humans to themselves? If God does so, should they be able to?
  9. If DNA can establish whether one has a sole human parent, as thinly referenced by Julianna in her testimony near the end of the novel, what does this say about the Virgin Birth? Or whether Jesus was the Son of God?
  10. At the end of the novel Sam appears to believe that Camille/Trinity, Fifika, and their mother are who they purport to be. The women reference their lawsuit against God. What could that mean? And why do they need Sam for it?