I like Jodi Picoult’s writing overall. She’s the sort of writer that I just slip into reading whatever story she is telling, but this one jarred me early in the process. For one thing, I knew what the twist would be at the end almost immediately. Maybe Picoult wanted readers to catch the clues she gave about the crime that was central to the story but I was annoyed that something was so obvious to me but not to anyone else in the book. I could get past that though; the real sticking point was that many chapters were from the PoV of a Catholic priest and it was clear to me that Picoult misunderstood some major theology points about Catholicism. The priest simply was not believable and I chafed at every chapter that he narrated.
The miracles and mysticism in the early parts of the book were intriguing and well-written, but by the time matters reached a critical point, I was skimming along to see how all the story lines resolved. It was actually a fairly satisfying ending, although the story failed as far as tracing one characters fall from faith. I also felt that the second half of the book was far less subtle as far as the writing went. Dialogue became cumbersome with info-dumping and became somewhat tedious. This is a book that should leave a reader wanting to discuss the issues it raises about death, capital punishment, revenge, redemption, religion and so on. All weighty topics but in this book, the topics sink rather than inspire discussion.