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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Neil Baggio is back with another heart-stopping crime thriller adventure that will pit him against the world’s most powerful institution—the Catholic Church. In Charles D’Amico’s Ave Maria, Baggio is solicited by his high school alma mater, Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s, with his headmaster James “Glow” Glowacki calling him in the middle of the night. Glow asks him to investigate the mysterious death of a Polish exchange student, who was found hanged in his room. Suicide was ruled out as a motive. In the process of his investigation, Baggio discovers that the student’s death is traced to the involvement of the Catholic Church, and he questions a cardinal about a cover-up. Baggio is determined to get to the bottom of the truth, and his headmaster believes that his stubbornness is the only thing that will lead him to the answers.
Charles D’Amico has created a detective that may well find his rightful place in the canon of literary sleuths. What makes Baggio even more interesting as a detective character is the sarcasm in his thoughts whenever he is on a case. “I hope he doesn’t expect me to turn in my final paper from high school; it’s not my fault the dog ate it,” he thinks after receiving the unexpected call from his former headmaster. His tailing of Cardinal Kelley is among one of the most intense scenes that drive the story. Baggio is not a perfect detective, but he follows his own set of values and there are no sacred cows in his world, which is why he is perfect to conduct the investigation. If you are not a follower of the Neil Baggio Suspense Series, reading this book will likely make you a convert.