Father Mike Jerome

(creator: Ryne Douglas Pearson)


Ryne Douglas Pearson
Father Michael (Mike) Jerome's father had been a police officer in Chicago for 35 years, so it is not surprising that Mike, while he was only the associate pastor at St Mary's Church, had become a chaplain for the Chicago police Department. But he can never forget what had happened on May 10, 2005, his second year at St Mary's, when he had been told that his sister Katie had been shot dead. He had been aged thirty at the time.

Ryne Douglas Pearson (year of birth?) is the author of several novels and a short story collection. His novel Simple Simon was made into the film Mercury Rising. As a screenwriter he has worked on numerous movies. He says that when not writing he is usually thinking about writing. A west coast native, he lives in California with his wife, two sons, and their dogs. He is a devout Catholic who has two priests that are uncles.

Confessions (2010)
Confessions describes how a call in the dead of night summons Father Michael Jerome to a suburban Chicago hospital - a police officer has been shot. As department chaplain, Michael arrives to find that the officer will survive. The same cannot be said for his assailant, who mortally wounded on a gurney, begs for absolution for some past sin. Offering last rites to the dying man, Mike hears his final confession and is shaken by the man's admission of a murder in which he had been involved five years earlier. Mike is shocked to realise that this must have been one of the men who had murdered his sister. He refuses him absolution.

Struggling with the constraints of his faith, Michael moves cautiously as he tries to identify others involved in the vicious killing. But every secret he uncovers leads him further down a path where it becomes clear that someone is desperate for the past to stay buried.

There are moving moments in the story as when there is a sobering description of his mother's experience of Alzheimers, and Mike, who narrates throughout, comments, "If there are moments in my life where I question the random motives of my Maker, it is as I witnessed my mother's flailing disconnect with all that surrounds her."

Mike's faith grows increasingly tenuous and even while leading mass, he admits “there was not a moment in which I did not think myself a complete fraud". As he tracks down the other criminals involved in Katie's death, he quite literally hits out at them, raining blow after blow on the man who had actually shot her. He goes on to discover that Katie had not really been the young innocent he had supposed. However, the final denoument, with its unmasking of the person who had paid for the killers, seems quite incredible.

The author's style is at times a little convoluted, as when he describes a dream as “nothing more than a release of images and sounds and sensations, real and conjured, into the captive cinema of the sleeping self.' Or as he describes how “the sliver of day becomes a half orb of scintillating orange creeping glacially into the sky'. And, although there are some potentially exciting bits of action, there seems little depth of characterisation so we're not as fully involved as we might be. So sometimes interest lags.

At the end Mike finds himself falling in love. It is no wonder that he eventually decides (a bit late in the day) that the priesthood is not for him. But it all ends happily when Mike spots his girl across the lake and hurries to her: “My pace quickened as I watched her begin to move as well. Trudging up the far shore, the both of us rushed, a wondrous wind at our backs as we meet at the bend the lake and come together. Holding each other. It is real." Or is it just a rather glib ending?


The author has his own website. There is also an interview with thim about his screenplay for Knowing on the Christian Cinema site, and a more general and more interesting one on the Absolute Write site.




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Confessions cover
The cover is not very informative.
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