Review - Upon This Rock by David Perry

book cover

Upon This Rock

by David Perry

My rating:

Tags: Mystery

Posted in Book Reviews on September 17, 2023

After a difficult year of caring for a terminally ill friend, Lee and his husband Adriano are taking a long vacation to relax. They're going to spend most of the time in Orvieto, an ancient hilltop town 100 miles north of Rome. The town has lots of character and quirky residents, but soon, the couple learns of the suicide of a local would-be priest the year before. The incident seems to have had a big effect on the town, and the parallels with Lee's own life compel him to look into the death. The more they discover, the more Lee questions the real motives for the young man's death.

“Upon This Rock” weaves a complex story of lies, regrets, and betrayals that spans decades, set in a city that is as old as time and still has closely guarded secrets to keep. The book lays out a trail of intriguing clues, although, at times, it's not clear what the fundamental mystery is. Did the young deacon Andrea really commit suicide, or was it murder? If it was suicide, was the reason really that his ordination had been canceled by the Vatican? And, why did the death have such a seemingly huge impact on the small town?

Most of the story is told from Lee and Adriano's point of view, although there are some chapters from other characters' viewpoints as well as historical snippets from when Orvieto was briefly home to Pope Clement. Lee and Adriano are a very believable couple. They might even be seen as a power couple, with contacts in San Francisco's power centers. As the story unfolds, we learn more about their pasts, building up a very rich portrait of two men who have lived lives with lots of ups and downs.

There is a large cast of secondary characters with their own stories to tell. As with many a good mystery, almost all the characters seem suspicious and, in many cases, are not necessarily who they appear to be. The plot will likely keep you guessing right up until the big dramatic turn of events when the villain finally reveals himself.

“Upon This Rock” is available from Amazon.