Bookshots: 'The Scientology Murders' by William Heffernan

Bookshots: 'The Scientology Murders' by William Heffernan

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


The Scientology Murders: A Dead Detective Novel

Who wrote it?

If you are a thriller or mystery reader and curious about the inner workings of Scientology, then The Scientology Murders is a must read.

William Heffernan is the Edgar Award–winning author of nineteen novels, including the international best sellers The Corsican and The Dinosaur Club, as well as The Dead Detective. Heffernan was a New York City newspaper reporter who was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize.

Plot in a box:

Told in an engaging, tight third-person voice, The Scientology Murders concerns a Scientology member who has started killing people, which the church frowns on, unless the people being killed are psychiatrists. They really hate psychiatrists. Detective Harry Doyle, known as "The Dead Detective," finds out his adoptive father has been wounded by the unclear killer. Doyle takes the case and delves deep into the dark side of Clearwater, Florida, and all the away to Alaska. 

Invent a new title for this book:

Xenu Knocks Twice or Northern Exterior

Read this if you like(d):

The idea of a cool detective novel written by Leah Remini.

Meet the book’s lead(s):

Harry Doyle—known as the Dead Detective.

Vicky Stanopolis—Harry's partner

Regis Walsh—head of the Florida Church of Scientology

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Harry Doyle—Tom Cruise (seriously, he would actually be good)

Vicky Stanopolis—Tina Fey

Regis Walsh—Ralph Fiennes or the creepy young republican from The Purge.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

Clearwater, Florida and Alaska present day. Nope. 

What was your favorite sentence?

If someone I loved fell under Scientology’s spell, I’d be scared shitless for them.

The Verdict:

This is a fun and fast paced novel. Heffernan builds on the fascinating lore of the newest American “religious” movement with an intriguing mix of crime, mystery, thriller, and noir. Harry Doyle has a brutal backstory and the killer still creeps me out. There are some moments where the exposition took me out of the story, but Heffernan would usually find his groove and keep me engrossed. If you are a thriller or mystery reader and curious about the inner workings of Scientology, then The Scientology Murders is a must read.

Part Number:
Christoph Paul

Review by Christoph Paul

Christoph Paul is an award-winning humor author. He writes non-fiction, YA, Bizarro, horror, and poetry including: The Passion of the Christoph, Great White House Volume 1 and Volume 2, Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, and Horror Film Poems. He is an editor for CLASH Media and CLASH Books and edited the anthologies Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective and This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck With: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology. Under the pen name Mandy De Sandra, he writes Bizarro Erotica that has been covered in VICE, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and AV Club. He is represented by Veronica Park at the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

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