An elderly man is carried into the emergency department of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, setting off a chain of events that leaves doctors mystified. He is the first of many victims suffering from severe nosebleeds and excruciating pain. Dr. Luke Gillespie and Nurse Agatha Catania investigate their symptoms but are unable to diagnose them. The only thing they have in common is Sgt. Nicholas Myra, an investigator with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Dr. Gillespie and Sgt. Myra join forces to solve this twisted mystery. But the story takes a critical turn when Sister Pius, a nun from Mercy Convent, informs them about Wormwood: a disease she believes is created by God to kill perpetrators of the most heinous crimes. Wormwood becomes an international media storm when parish priest Father Peter Cooke holds a news conference on the steps of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and announces that God has unleashed a plague upon the earth. Is God truly punishing these criminals, or is a serial killer targeting them? Dr. Gillespie and Sgt. Myra race to find answers, while the Roman Catholic hierarchy starts bringing people back to the Church in droves . . . by cashing in on what it claims to be a miracle.
2019 - One of top 5 Finalist in Canada- Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing - Best First Crime Novel
Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! With skilled, detective-like precision, Escott kept me at the edge of my seat throughout this well-told story of hurt and faith. Filled with a ton of well-researched facts and figures regarding Newfoundland and Labrador’s history, criminal investigative processes, and relevant political complications, this novel fills the reader’s need for action, suspense, and emotion. This book will make every Newfoundlander and Labradorian reflect on their complicated history and fully intrigue those who come from away. Operation Wormwood is wicked . . . simply wicked . . . in every definition of the word-- E. B. Merrill, S/Sgt. (Rtd.), Royal Canadian Mounted Police --
At the heart of this gut-wrenching, savagely realistic novel is a deep theological struggle: why does evil against the most vulnerable go unpunished by a loving, all-powerful God? Escott combines first-hand police experience, superb storytelling, and deep faith in this Dan Brown–style epic.-- Rev Robert Cooke --
This is a book that is worth the read. While I could not put the book down, most times I was not sure if I was reading true life or fiction. However, I could not help but feel that the writer was writing this book to clear her mind. Operation Wormwood also gives us a sense of what first-responders deal with in their daily lives. A well-written book. Great job, Mrs. Escott.-- Edwards Book Club --
Operation Wormwood is one heck of a thriller-- The Telegram --
Escott writes with clarity and expertise while at the same time weaving interesting Newfoundland and Labrador facts and lesser known information through the 276 pages. Though the subject matter of child exploitation and abuse is difficult to read about, this novel doesn’t overdo it but sensitively brings to light, through plot and character, the struggle that churches, schools and Indigenous populations have experienced in this province. It is not intended to raise suspicion or “tar and feather” all those who work with vulnerable populations but, in Escott’s own words, written “to comfort victims and to create paranoia among pedophiles.” Ten years in the making, Operation Wormwood is a gut-wrenching crime novel that uncovers the evil side of humanity and at times leaves us questioning our own faith. It may be a difficult read for those who have experienced similar trauma in their own lives.-- Fireside Collections --
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