Starting this book I had flashbacks of something I read last summer, Imposture by Benjamin Markovits, that started with a prologue that described how the publisher came to have the text that follows in their hands.
It is a literary device that is deployed with greater skill here because the idea is to grip the reader from the start with a journalist phoning up a publisher with a manuscript that has come from a missing priest who has just turned up dead in the Scottish mountains.
The key to the priests disappearance is the events leading up to his wanderings in the wilderness with an apparent meeting with the devil making him appear mad to most of those around him.
There are mysteries of why even after he is meant to have been dead for months he was seen by three witnesses alive on the mountain his body eventually turned up on.
Having got through the preamble, which does have you convinced in its authenticity the text from the mad minister himself starts.
In some respects it is quickly into the supernatural with the minister describing how he stumbles across a stone while out running that has literally appeared out of nowhere. This starts some sort of self examination that gives Gideon Mack pause to question not just his standing in the community but his standing with God.
Oddly addictive it is growing on me and as the quality of the writing kicks in the shame of reading a Richard & Judy book club choice is starting to wear off.