Grail Tale is a mystery novel revolving around the implausible and inexplicable discovery of the Holy Grail in a rehabilitation clinic in downtown Los Angeles. The Grail, as it has in centuries past, serves those who seek enlightenment and illumination; yet, it continues to be pursued by those who seek the Grail for personal gain.
When Jackie Blue, a youthful street musician, checks into the Army of Redemption Rehabilitation Clinic, he exhibits signs of mental illness characterized by recollections of prior life experiences. While undergoing treatment under the direction of the resident psychiatrist, Doctor Percival Holliday, Jackie hints that he is in possession of the Holy Grail, which, for purposes of concealment, has been reconfigured into a trumpet. When Jackie plays his magical trumpet, the troubled souls within the clinic experience soothing, and, in some instances, miraculous relief.
Lieutenant Louis Loneghan of the Army of Redemption steps in to investigate. In doing so, he encounters a succession of questers who are in relentless pursuit of Jackie. Each quester spins a credible narrative in which they were once, purportedly, the rightful owner of the Grail—until they were defrauded by a charismatic rogue known as Jackie Blue.
Galina Baronova, for instance, claims the Grail on behalf of the Getty Museum, but isn’t she really working for Russian Organized Crime? Window Shade Watson, a jazz musician, claims the Grail was given to him by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., in Selma Alabama in 1965, but Window Shade Watson is also a known con artist, specializing in forged civil rights memorabilia. Morton Fisher, retired B-movie actor, wants the Grail (if he can’t have the Shroud of Turin) as a centerpiece for a proposed Las Vegas casino. And then there’s the charming and voluptuous Arthurian novelist, Morgan St. John, who relied upon the Grail as her muse for her romance novel, Avalon’s Secret Promise.
Feeling the heat, Jackie Blue disappears from the clinic. Then Doc Holliday is kidnapped and held hostage, presumably because he knows the whereabouts of Jackie and the Grail. But Doc Holliday, in turns out, has a serious gambling problem and is deeply in debt to his bookies. As Lieutenant Loneghan continues his investigation, he discovers that reality has a strange way of corroborating the delusions of Jackie Blue. Is Jackie simply a talented musician and magician; or, is he, possibly, a seer and prophet?
Things turn ugly when Ignatius Donleavy, a dangerous ex-con posing as a priest, operating under the direction of Morton Fisher, threatens Madelyn, Louis’ devoted administrative assistant, and her twelve-year old daughter, Mary Beth. Detective Teresa Sarras, L.A.P.D., sets up a sting operation and, in the midst of a violent confrontation, fatally wounds Donleavy. Overcome by the stress, Morton Fisher dies of a heart attack at the scene of the shooting.
Seemingly in recovery, Madelyn continues to feel deeply for Louis, but, inwardly, has misgivings about a future offering scant material rewards. Along with Doc Holliday, she conspires to obtain the Grail by deception, hoping to sell it for substantial profit. At the last minute, she has a change of heart and confesses her betrayal. Louis, ostensibly pure of heart, graciously forgives her.
Louis, in time, also succumbs to temptation. Acquiring the Grail from Jackie Blue, Louis contacts Galina Baronova and they agree to meet to negotiate sale of the priceless artifact. En route to their rendezvous, Louis becomes sidetracked when his van breaks down in front of St. Ellen’s, the church that served as the scene of Madelyn’s abduction by Ignatius Donleavy and Window Shade Watson.
Entering the empty church, Louis approaches the altar, Grail in hand, and experiences a painful epiphany that leaves him momentarily dazed and paralyzed. Recovering from his spiritual trauma, Louis wearily exits the church, leaving the Grail behind on the altar, and encounters Madelyn who, discovering his letter of farewell, has come looking for him. The final scene closes with their reunification and return to grace.
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