February 16, 1987 12:00 PM

by Andrew M. Greeley

“The Lord God, to tell you the absolute truth, is a comedian,” says a priest to the hero in this latest novel from Greeley’s indefatigable word processor. “Never, Redmond Peter Kane, I repeat, never—with the Lord God.” Is that the way priests talk these days? Well, any priest other than Andrew Greeley? Kane is a Pulitzer-prizewinning columnist on a fictional Chicago newspaper. Readers like Kane even better than real Chicagoans like his nonfictional counterpart, Mike Royko. When Kane’s column is missing, the paper’s circulation nose-dives. His wife is a beautiful defense attorney. They are madly in love and the sex is stupendous. It follows therefore in the logic according to Greeley that they behave in a totally irrational fashion. Kane discovers that a wealthy—and evil—civic leader has tortured and murdered a 14-year-old prostitute, and he has the snuff pictures to prove it. Kane bullies his publisher and editor into printing the story even though the civic leader (named Harvard Princeton Gunther) threatens to have acid thrown on, and to kill, Kane’s wife and children. Kane’s old mentor, who disappeared 20 years earlier, returns to try and buy off Kane for $2 million. Kane has a breakdown, is fired and everybody hates him because he is such a saint. So he decides to be mean to his wife and kids in hopes that God will leave him alone. Or maybe something entirely different takes place. With Greeley plotting in his usual incoherent fashion, it’s impossible to be certain what’s going on. Several of these characters have appeared in other novels by the profanely prolific priest. Please, Lord, find something useful for Andrew Greeley to do before he sits down to write again. (Warner, $18.95)

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