Smaller and Smaller Circles based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
F.H. Batacan's Smaller and Smaller Circles won several prizes in her native Philippines when it was first published, and with good reason; it is an excellent murder mystery which, while having a superb sense of time and place, rises above its setting to feel fresh almost two decades after it was written. Batacan has created two wonderful characters to investigate the gruesome deaths of several poor boys, Jesuit priests Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero. Her choice of protagonists brings a richness and depth to her story by incorporating the Catholic Church and its relationships with its priests and congregants as a key element. Making them Jesuits was inspired. That order, known for its emphasis on education and its questioning attitude toward even the Catholic Church itself, keeps Smaller and Smaller Circles from falling into the cozy mystery territory of Ralph McInerney's Father Dowling, while its engagement with the world outside the church renders Batacan's story less cerebral than Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Where Batacan truly excels, however, is in her depiction of the relationship between Saenz and Lucero. Their love and respect for each other is apparent in their every encounter, making them a duo I would love to spend more time with (say, at least six more books). Unfortunately, I could not find any other novels authored by Batacan, so Smaller and Smaller Circles will have to remain my gateway drug rather than leading to a full Saenz/Lucero addiction. I received a free copy of Smaller and Smaller Circles through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.