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Send comments to: JACK FRERKER

A touching and engaging story of human relationships sensitively told by one who speaks from his lived experience within clerical ranks.

Bishop Paul Zipfel, Bismarck, North Dakota

CONNECTIONS provides the reader with an insider's view of a Church that depicts people with feet of clay, their gifts, talents, and needs - a good read!

Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., Saint Martin's Abbey, Lacey, Washington

At a time when priests and bishops often become, in many people's eyes, objects of suspicion rather than trust and respect, this enjoyable tale of two priests coming to grips with each other and with their ministry goes down well. Frerker writes with intimate knowledge of the relationships a priest deals with day in and day out in his work. I came away from this novel thinking that, yes, there are good people all around us - even bishops and mafia dons - and their stories are the stuff of real life.

Reverend Patrick O'Malley, First president of the National Federation of Priests' Councils

I just finished reading CONNECTIONS. I can't remember reading any other book that gave me such pleasure, and spoke to me of where I am at in my search for holiness. I'm in the Ministry Formation Program. I feel that "Connections" has brought a lot of what we have covered into the human realm and the way we Christians are supposed to behave.

Bill Day, Illinois

Got your book and finished it in 4 days (a near record for me)! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Kudos for a well written story and allowing your friends and readers a larger window into your soul.

Thomas Zeinz, Ohio

I enjoyed CONNECTIONS very much. The story has so much with which I can identify. Your mind is intriguingly interwoven and the same time simple and direct. Thanks so much for sharing.

Fr Don Meehling, Illinois

I couldn't put that book down. It had me riveted from the beginning. I learned a lot about a lot of things, like what do Seminarians do/study, etc. .The relationships/connections between all the characters was enlightening and so well done--told so clearly, no wasted words. And, the influence of a Bishop on a Seminarian, the Bishop's extraordinary challenges faced along his life-even without a Buster Wortman in his life. Truly loved the book and hope there's another to follow. This Priest has a lot to teach a lot of people.

Mary Young, Ohio

I finished reading CONNECTIONS last evening. All three books have been very enjoyable, but you really have hit the stride of a great author in this one. The Insight and friendships were very true to life and the intrigue with the Santa Claus Don kept the interest going. Keep up the good work!

Barbara Ruppel, Illinois

I finished your latest book and feel that it is the best of the three. Maybe the first was fun to read because it dealt with places that I was familiar with, the second because it had a better twist at the end, but this one spoke to the heart of who I am and I believe many of us are as priests. I know that it made me appreciate the true "friends" that I have developed over the years that allow me to express my joys, sorrows and concerns about what it means to be me and me as a priest. In fact, I have read it while vacationing (with) friends who have made me a part of their family. This work touched me in a way that the other two were not intended to, I am sure. I hope all who read it will understand the "mystery" and the "challenge" that priesthood is and will continue to be and (that) they will put down the book having gained a better understanding of these men who are their priests. Thanks.

Gary Gummersheimer, Illinois

Just finished your 3rd. book and I enjoyed it even more than the first two. The development of the friendship between Bob and his bishop was interesting, enjoyable and very touching. "B B" was such a character - I loved his personality (have you known someone in your priestly life similar to him?). I also found your description of the Colorado landscape beautiful and well written (pp 51-52) - you do have a way with words! We have camped in Colorado and visit our daughter and son-in-law on a somewhat regular basis and have come to love that state's magnificent scenery.

JoAnn Reily, Minnesota

I must tell you that while I enjoyed your first two books, your writing in this one is really superb, especially the "business" part of the dialogue throughout, the wonderful descriptions of the Rocky Mountains, as well as the introspective story. I'm ready for the fourth book, so keep the muse busy.

Cynthia O'Neill, Illinois

I finished reading your newest book, Connections! I SO enjoyed this story...not wanting it to end. I wanted to continue to "live the life" of the characters. Fr. Bob really pulled me into the story. So, will there be a continuation of the story? We need to know more about Fr. Bob, Rob and especialy, Fr. Pete. Thanks for a good read!

Georgene Murphy, Indiana

I just finished CONNECTIONS and enjoyed it very much - the territory it covered sounded very familiar. And, also, many of the events seemed very similar to events out of my past - and yours. At times it seemed somewhat auto-biographical. Don't know what is fact and what is fiction. Regardless, the message is so true - we all have a need to connect.

Ralph Stauder, Illinois

A simple note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading CONNECTIONS. I hadn't read either of your other works but eagerly look forward to tracking them down and buying copies for my library.

I received my Ph.D. in Historical Theology (Patristics) from St. Louis University and have a deepening sense of appreciation for the Catholic Church that was spawned years earlier, when during undergraduate days I started receiving spiritual direction from a monk at St. Meinrad's. As a pastor of a Protestant congregation in Southern Illinois ... my ecumenical awareness has opened doors and provided more opportunities for ministry and spiritual growth than I possibly could have imagined ...

I have some authority within my denomination and am keenly aware of the distance that overseers and local pastors inevitably build between themselves. A function of the office? Perhaps. But Connections renewed in me again the desire to do just that, connect in more vital and life-giving, God-honoring ways with all with whom I come into contact. Blessings upon you, Father Jack, for telling your parables in such a way that they bless so many others!

Reverend Bruce N. G. Cromwell, Illinois

The author has a unique perspective on a world that a lot of people don't ordinarily get to see. The book is written with sensitivity and compassion. On a sentence by sentence level, the prose is solid and easy to read.

Writer's Digest

Believe it or not I just got around to reading CONNECTIONS ... I really, really, liked it. I was particularly taken by the parts about celibacy. I had related celibacy mostly to sex before and the insights on intimacy were very revealing ... (Lately) I have realized how important the intimacy is. I should have realized it. Besides my husband, I have two friends (one guy and one gal) with whom I have that kind of relationship. We say things at the same time, he can look at me and tell what I am thinking and start laughing. His lady friend and my husband just shake their heads and say, there they go again ... I can relate to Bob, I have never had to have my horn blown or titles, I just want to get the job done. I pretty much supply my own validation ... New book coming in the fall?

Marlene K, Illinois

I have now read your mystery books: Heat, Solstice, and Conspiracy. I enjoyed each of them and have passed them on to members of my family.

I also finished reading your book Connections ... I enjoyed this one the most because it dealt with seminary experiences, to which I could easily relate, and to the joys and frustrations of the priesthood. I couldn't help but wonder how much of the story was autobiographical. How much of the minor seminary chapter was like St. Henry's? How much of the major seminary chapter was like Mundelein? How much of the chapter about the first assignment after ordination was like St. Teresa's? ... How much of the other chapters were like Carlyle and Cahokia? How much of the story about "the other side of the river" was St. Louis? And how much of the relationship of the priest and the bishop was like any of your own experiences? I also liked the passages in Connections and Conspiracy about Rahner's emphasis on grace.

I've passed Connections on to the priest-chaplain of (a prep school), and I am anxious to hear his reaction.

Thank you so much for writing these novels. I got many hours of pleasure from them.

Dr. David Oughton, Missour

CONNECTIONS is not of the mystery series. It is personal diary type story of interpersonal relationships among men working together who just happen to be priests. It is very obvious that the writer is reliving some endearing, yet human friendships he has shared with his professional friends. The sadness of a great man unable to reveal himself to others is one encountered in many professions. It is all the more touching when applied to men dedicated to a religious life.

Julianne Biehl, Texas

Solstice was a alluring read, (though) the ending was a little toned down ... much like real life. But that did not render the read disappointing. I enjoyed every turn of the page. You touched on the generosity of middle income families in Heat and Solstice.

Connections was a neat look at the religious life as a Sacrament. People always talked to me when I was younger about the priesthood, but nobody offered me any explanation as to what I could expect in the way of support and education. I enjoyed learning and spent more than one moment wondering if my life may have been different had I read something like your book when I was being addressed. But I also enjoyed the character development between the priest and the bishop along with the confidants (like Buene). I could have used a little more character interaction and explanation as to the teacher ... and the friend ... much in the same way that you spent a little extra time on ... Peter. On each, I would have liked to see a little more interaction (maybe during the ski trips, through a little more dialogue) to touch on the manner and the extent to which priests can share their dilemmas with fellow religious. And not a Nun in sight! Today I guess that's true. And I loved the plot twist with the mobster and the lawyer at the end. With the lawyer, you played his mystery almost perfect; I was always wondering why his character revolved in and out of the story.

I enjoy each book for exactly what I perceive it to be; an entertaining and enjoyable read on the subtleties of Midwestern life, on the farm and in the big cities, through the eyes of a priest.

Under random thoughts, any ideas surrounding Father John in an ecclesiastical mystery with other denominations; an all encompassing look at how each religion has certain influences in a small town passed on where its strongest parishioners have pull (or hold political offices). Perhaps an offshoot would be an artful comment about those parishioners (every religion has them) that are the wealthiest but can also be the stingiest. You touched on the generosity of middle income families in Heat and Solstice.

B Jasper, California

I really enjoyed a CONNECTIONS and am liking MONKSBANE as well: well-written and thought provoking. Your messages help me with perspective in a very busy life.

J D Young, Florida

I thought Connections was very insightful. I am a psychiatrist, so I am aware of the complexity of human relationships. I asume that priests see the usual/normal problems of human relationships. I am more used to see the most dramatic disturbances in human relationship associated to the presence of mental illness, particularly those more severe cases that are very influenced by the biology of brain disturbances. I like your book and it was very helpful to me. I found it more "Catholic" than the other books. I have the impression that other books about a preist detective are easier to read for non-catholics. I think this one can be very interesting for non-catholics but they need to be willing to "put up" with the pecularities of Catholic priesthood. If they can stand reading about Catholic clergy the book is helpful to understand the limitations of human beings even of those who are supposed to be the best examples of Christ in this complicated world we live.

Jose de Leon, Kentucky

I thank you for introducing me to the Kindle. It has been wonderful. With its no glare screen, I can read longer than normal and when my eyes are tired, I can switch to voice. If I miss something or don't understand, I can stop voice and go back to the printed page. Being able to go back one page or a whole chapter at once is most helpful . I started with Connections, the one I almost didn't order, but am so glad I did. I liked the antics of your early Seminarians. I had hoped your Bishop would gain a little more appreciation before the end, but maybe it was enough. I pray a lot for our Bishop. I think he has a very difficult job.

Rose Russell, Washington

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revised January 18, 2011 @ 9:44 am