Communion of Sinners

Michael’s first mystery includes a long-overdue expose of the historic California Mission system. Armed with extensive research, including 18th century eyewitness accounts, he explodes the romantic myths surrounding the so-called benevolent Franciscan padres and their Native American converts, lifting the “Adobe Curtain” to reveal a world of slavery, deprivation and cruelty. Once you read Communion of Sinners, you’ll never see the famous missions in the same light again.

The plot unfolds quickly as New Orleans travel writer Sam Crockett drives across country to visit friends in Carmel, California. He stops along the way to explore isolated Soledad Mission and ventures into the campo santo where he stumbles upon what he believes is an ancient skeleton. When local police determine the bones are recent, Sam finds himself on the scent of a potentially explosive story and calls his partner Claudia Durand for help. The veteran photojournalism team has barely begun work when another corpse appears.

The journals of a recently deceased and famously reclusive anthropologist provide clues leading the team to the Santa Cruz Mission and three skeletons unearthed by the Loma Prieta earthquake and hastily reburied when their crushed skulls scream murder. Despite being stonewalled by the local Catholic Church, Sam and Claudia persevere in searching for the truth which, unbelievably, connects murders committed over two centuries ago with the recent killings. As the idyllic California landscape becomes littered with the corpses of Spanish soldiers, Franciscan padres, Native Americans and modern-day journalists, Sam and Claudia wonder if they’ll be next as they unmask a deadly and unholy Communion of Sinners.

“Llewellyn has cooked up a savory literary paella inspired by the hidden history of California’s Spanish missions and flavored it with a touch of investigative journalism and the beauty of the Pacific coast. Mysterious deaths, long-held secrets, heartbreak and wonderful descriptions of food and wine combine in this compelling new novel to create a feast of a book.” –Anne Hillerman, author of Spider Woman’s Daughter

“As a Carmel native, I know Llewellyn’s territory well, but he has unearthed long-ignored truths about California’s mission system that are sure to stir controversy. He showcases his findings in an enthralling murder mystery that deftly links ancient killings to contemporary crimes while sending the reader on a rollercoaster ride with a take-no-prisoners finale. Fasten your seatbelts!” –Ciji Ware, author of That Spring in Paris

Available in print and e-book formats.

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