The Cardinal and the Crook

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Pub Date 01 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 16 Mar 2024

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On a damp, dreary evening a young unwed mother abandons her two infant sons. The twin brothers, James and John, are adopted by a loving and nurturing father.

As they grow older, their distinct personalities become more evident and each chooses a divergent path. Despite impassioned pleading from his brother, James makes a fateful choice which results in deadly consequences.

John enters the priesthood and years later, upon learning of his elevation to cardinal, reflects—through a series of flashbacks—upon the people and tragic events that formed him into a powerful, dynamic and compassionate leader.

The message which permeates John’s retrospection is that disappointments, tragedy and loss are inevitable in our lives. We can allow these hardships to weigh us down and destroy us, or we can embrace them with unshakable faith, determination, and courage that transforms these adversities into opportunities to grow and become stronger.

The Cardinal and the Crook is an inspirational novel set in contemporary times. It incorporates elements of suspense, action, and crime to tell the story of two adopted twin brothers and unshakable faith, courage, and perseverance.

On a damp, dreary evening a young unwed mother abandons her two infant sons. The twin brothers, James and John, are adopted by a loving and nurturing father.

As they grow older, their distinct...

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ISBN 9781647047634
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

345 pages

4 stars

In spite of the fact that there are some dark moments in this book, for the most part it is a forward-looking and hopeful novel.

A young mother abandons her identical twin boy babies on the doorstep of a rectory.

So begins a tale of unconditional love, drama, spiritual awakening and faith. This is an uplifting novel and I certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys such. It discusses an unconventional family dynamic, relationships and how it all works to produce some fine young men.

I want to thank NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for forwarding to me a copy of this good book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions provided in this review are solely my own.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Sal Tocco, and the publisher for this ARC of The Cardinal and the Crook in exchange for an honest review! This was a pretty good book! I believe it is a debut novel and I'm pretty impressed! I found myself emotionally invested in very early on! This book beautifully jumps through time to tell a full story of family and love and humanity. I was worried that the format might be confusing or convoluted, but I found it to be wonderfully executed.

The opening chapter was a strong one that had me hooked right away! I don't think there is a point where my attention waned. Sal Tocco was able to get me connected to his characters very quickly and I found myself not wanting to put this book down. I think The Cardinal and the Crook can be read in one night, but it is also broken up into parts that make it easy to read in segments if that suits you more. It's not a short book, but it never drags which I find makes for a solid evening (or several evenings) read as one winds down for the night.

I appreciate how this book depicted things as small scale as the pain of loss to some bigger issues in the world. That was all well-done. I also loved the strength shown, as well as the kindness. There's not enough books that can show all these concepts in a way that admirably serves the story.

I would probably say this book is a 4.5 that I personally would round up to a 5. The Cardinal and the Crook is a very reflective book, which I enjoyed, but I could see someone wishing for more action depicted rather than described/experienced. That being said, if you've read the description and think you're interested, I definitely think it's worth the read. I found it to be a very well-crafted narrative! Sal Tocco did an excellent job with this book and I'd absolutely love to see him write another novel.

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This was an interesting mystery novel and i thought it was perfect for being hopeful and telling a story. The characters were interesting. I didn't feel like it was overdrawn, and it had great use of family dynamics and relationships. I was invested in the story and enjoyed how Sal Tocco wrote this.

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Twin brothers raised in a parish with two different life choices.

Twin brothers, James and John, are left on the door step of a parish when they were infants on a cold stormy night. As they grow up, they begin to develop different interest. John is drawn to the priesthood and takes the necessary steps to climb the ranks. James is drawn to worldly possessions and becomes part of a crime family. Many years later, their mother returns to explain her decision and create a bond with her sons.

I enjoyed Sal Tocco's cleverly written book as the ending will surprise readers as it did me. The author takes readers through time as the boys grow up with easy to read chapters. Veronica's story was my favorite as it explores love and heartbreak which leads to her decision to give up her twin boys. I highly recommend this book for its captivating read and surprise ending.

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An entertaining and emotional work by Tocco. THE CARDINAL AND THE COOK delivers across genres and explores faith without proselytizing.

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THE CARDINAL AND THE CROOK: A gritty thriller with a whole lot of heart.
I like it when faithful people have the gumption to write a story that explores a darker side of the world, and that's why this book appealed to me, and why I'm so glad I read it. THE CARDINAL AND THE CROOK tells the story of two brothers, James and John, who were left at the doorstep of an orphanage by their mother. James, ensnared by the temptations of worldly wealth and prestige, ends up leading a life of crime. John, however, follows the calling of priesthood. And this journey takes them both to places they need to be in to grow. Loved being there every step of the way, loved the harmonious blend of grit and Grace, loved how complex the motivations were. A truly heartfelt thriller. Ten out of five!

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