Bishop Joseph Smith & Sister Claire Coogan

(creator: Brent Carr)

Brent Carr
Bishop Joseph Smith has a "6'3" chiselled frame, square shoulders, with blonde hair and eyes of Caribbean-blue," and a "confident, deep voice." He is a former Green Beret who now works as a stockbroker as well as being an undercover FBI agent (he is a "senior anti-terrorist investigator") and he is also a Mormon bishop (unpaid, of course) and takes his beliefs very seriously. He is also, it turns out, a skilled pilot. He is quite prepared to kill even a close friend in the course of duty but he "never shot first. Only after he was fired on." He is one of numerous Mormons who are named after their founder. He is married to a fellow Mormon, Nancy, and they have two small children.

He is the narrator throughout, except when, every now and then, he suddenly starts to refer to himself In the third person ( e.g. as Joseph) and we get a few lines apparently written by somebody else. This can get quite confusing.

Sister Claire Coogan is a "pretty woman with high cheekbones, large brown eyes - big, bright eyes .... I saw her passion, which bore intelligence, able to summon quick and insightful actions." She is, as Joseph Smith goes on to say, "a "WOW". She describes herself as "a righteous Sister with wit." She had previously served in the Marines but had left them "after too many bloody assignments" and gone on to become a Roman Catholic nun and "expendable" Swiss Guard trained Special Agent for the Pope, whom she can phone up at any time!

She enjoyed a good fight and was perfectly ready to shoot to kill, and Smith summed her up as "a woman who had love within her heart, witticism in her mind and hands and arms that felt combat."

Brent Carr (real name Alan Brent Carruth,1944 - ) is a Mormon ward missionary who writes under several different names. He graduated with dual majors in Political Science and Journalism, and worked full time as a writer to pay tuition for Loyola Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctorate. He went on to practice criminal law -- including winning the only espionage-spy trial in USA history when he proved a Mormon former CIA operative was not guilty of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. He has written for ABC radio and TV in Los Angeles, and is the author of numerous journalistic reports and articles. He admits that his life has had many stumbles and scratches (it appears rthat he was disbarred from practicing law in California in 1997, and jailed in 2011 for taking money for photos and photo products that were never delivered) but declares, "I am a High Priest. I attempt to serve the Lord through service and faith."

The Bishop and Nun (2014)
The Bishop and Nun gets off to an intriguing and highly unusual start. Joseph Smith, the Mormon bishop and Sister Claire Coogan, the Roman Catholic nun, both working on secret assignments, have been told told to meet up but both are highly surprised by the appearance of the other, one looking altogether too well-dressed and handsome to be a bishop and the other, despite her nun's black garb, altogether too pretty and cheeky to be a nun.

"In our church," the Mormon Bishop explains, "a married man is prohibited from being alone with a female other than his wife. Even, a sharp-shooting Nun."
"Afraid I'm going to jump you, Bishop?"
"Say - What?" I responded out of shock. This Sister is too much.

But after a violent explosion and a dangerous almost 100 mph car chase, Sister Claire saves the situation by drawing her pistol ("Billy the Kid quick. Seemed even faster"), aiming it at one of their pursuers, and so adding "ventilation between his eyes. Game over for one combatant".

It is all very violent but told in a jokey humorous sort way that at first is quite amusing, but then they suddenly hear about a nuclear blast in Iran that caused 11,000 civilian casualties and the total destruction of a naval base, the weapon being launched from the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea, possibly by either United States or Israel. At this point things stop being funny at all. Indeed as this atomic explosion gets only the briefest further mention in the story, and seems to have had no worldwide consequences, it defies belief.

It turns out that their task is to prevent the military in the United States from launching surprise nuclear attacks on every single Muslim country! It is up to Joseph and Claire to save the world by rescuing the Hispanic President of the United States and shooting the main conspirators from an impossible distance, and it all has to stay a secret as the President "can't tell the world that our military was going to nuke all Muslim countries." It is a remarkably silly and unconvincing plot.

At first Joseph is prepared to disregard threatening messages telling him to "abandon your incessant detecting" but then his wife and children are kidnapped - and, much to this reader's surprise, his wife is actually murdered, so he resumes the hunt with a vengeance.

There are religious discussions from time to time although the author is much more successful at putting forward Joseph's Mormon views than Claire's Catholic ones. He explains to her that, "There is more that binds than separates Christian religions. The Bible is true for Mormons, Catholics and others who have faith in Christ. Too often an individual church declares itself the only holders of the keys to heaven." But she gets no chance to point out that, to the Roman Catholic Church, some Mormon beliefs are totally heretical and indeed seem plain silly. However, the Pope encourages her, "For divine assistance, both of you pray; there is only one God. He will help. Everyone is at risk. The Father responds when all his children are in danger." He does not seem concerned that "LDS members believed in three heavenly beings - God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Three separate - not one, as the Bible teaches."

There is incorrect spacing in the Kindle edition (sentences like "Useless palaveringwasn ' t doing the trick", the spelling of Confuscius looks very odd, and for some reason Nun is always spelt with a capital letter. And there is some doubt about whether the book is called The Bishop and Nun, Bishop & Nun, or Bishop and the Nun. It is described as "Book 1 in Series" - but it does not make a very promising start.

The author has his own web page on the Mormon site.

Please sign my GUEST BOOK. All comments, contributions (or corrections) welcomed!


Bishop and Nun cover
The cover gives little indication of the content.
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