RITUAL SINS

Author(s): 

Unresolved pain and anger over her now-deceased mother sends Rachel Connery on a quest to expose the con-man she believes stole her $12.5 million inheritance. In the last months of her life, Stella Connery entered the "Foundation of Being" compound in Santa Delores, NM. There she followed the teachings of charismatic leader Luke Bardell. Dying of cancer, Stella also made a will turning her fortune over to Luke and disinheriting her only child. Luke is an admitted ex-con and darling of the media, who spent four years in prison for manslaughter. Besides espousing his peaceful, vegan and celibate lifestyle, the Foundation also maintains a hospice unit run by a renowned oncologist for any seriously ill members.

After losing in court, Rachel decides to take her campaign into the lion's den. She will uncover the evidence that will prove that the handsome, enigmatic Luke is a fraud and fake.

It's just as well that Luke's current source of easy revenue is coming to an end; he's going nuts trying to maintain the illusion. Keeping himself celibate and aloof from his followers makes them revere him all the more, but it is rough on his libido. Abused, beaten and tortured as a child, Luke learned early not to form attachments or be troubled by an overactive conscience, but something about the emotionally wounded yet persistent Rachel brings out the devil in him.

Rachel can sense that something evil is brewing at the Foundation, but does it follow Luke's agenda or someone else's?

Unresolved pain and anger over her now-deceased mother sends Rachel Connery on a quest to expose the con-man she believes stole her $12.5 million inheritance. In the last months of her life, Stella Connery entered the "Foundation of Being" compound in Santa Delores, NM. There she followed the teachings of charismatic leader Luke Bardell. Dying of cancer, Stella also made a will turning her fortune over to Luke and disinheriting her only child. Luke is an admitted ex-con and darling of the media, who spent four years in prison for manslaughter. Besides espousing his peaceful, vegan and celibate lifestyle, the Foundation also maintains a hospice unit run by a renowned oncologist for any seriously ill members.

After losing in court, Rachel decides to take her campaign into the lion's den. She will uncover the evidence that will prove that the handsome, enigmatic Luke is a fraud and fake.

It's just as well that Luke's current source of easy revenue is coming to an end; he's going nuts trying to maintain the illusion. Keeping himself celibate and aloof from his followers makes them revere him all the more, but it is rough on his libido. Abused, beaten and tortured as a child, Luke learned early not to form attachments or be troubled by an overactive conscience, but something about the emotionally wounded yet persistent Rachel brings out the devil in him.

Rachel can sense that something evil is brewing at the Foundation, but does it follow Luke's agenda or someone else's? Death is an all too familiar visitor to this "peaceful" compound.

Get ready to burn the midnight oil as award-winning Anne Stuart creates a fascinating, conflicted and morally ambiguous hero who will charm and haunt you. Sex, money and religion make the world go round, and RITUAL SINS has got them all. Anne Stuart triumphs again! (Oct., 400 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith