Kurt Hauptmann will learn to make stained glass to help men see the glory of God, one of the many bizarre heritages handed down from his ancestry. But the family has other, more frightening secrets. The path to God runs through darkness as well as light. And the bond of a family is blood, its own and that of its enemies.
What is the strangeness in Uncle Detlef, head of the stained-glass studio? Why has he descended from his cathedral roofs to steeplejack the perils of a secular world? What are his secrets? Why do the family’s holy rites seem perverse?
Most of all, why are men getting killed in bizarre, archaic ways here in South Florida?
As Kurt gropes toward the truth, so does the tough and cynical cop, Jack Skelote. What lies before them is a limbo of murdered martyrs, unblessed, unholy, and unburied.
Once you buy into the somewhat unlikely premise of The Martyring—a haunted German family of master stained-glass-window artists transported to modern-day Florida—you’re on your way to an unusual and rewarding thriller experience. Writers as diverse as Loren D. Estleman and William X. Kienzle have raved about Thomas Sullivan’s unique prose style, and it’s not hard to see why. “At a second glance, the undefinable structure resolved itself into a building like a church pew, narrow upper story indented above the first. Within the soaring top wedge were a series of tightly hemmed rectangles that glittered like troubled water.” That’s young Kurt Nehmer getting his first look at the Hauptmann family compound in Padobar. His mother was a Hauptmann, so Kurt has been invited to learn the family trade—and find out why so many members of the clan die in oddly similar accidents.