When Malcolm J. Hawkins, the Head of Psychology at Bethel University in Alabama, feels his position and his credibility threatened by up-and-coming English professor Ginnie Gillan, he decides to use her husband Edmund’s gullibility against her. Feeding Edmund a steady diet of drugs and manipulation, Mal lights the fuse of the greatest tragedy Bethel has ever known.
Eighteen-year-old Alma Broussard, her quirky mother Moline, and her feisty Aunt Pauline run a chicken farm in Bethel. Their lives seem wholly separate from the feuds of academia—but dark secrets lurk in Moline’s past that will bring the people she loves straight into the path of a murderous madman.
In the wake of death and destruction, the town that used to be called Heaven’s Gate will find no easy answers, but there may still be hope for redemption. Shooting at Heaven’s Gate is a Theology of the Cross novel in which genuine goodness, bona fide evil, and suffering truly live side by side.
Winner, Independent Press Award for Religion Fiction, 2023
“Kaye Hinckley has more than earned her keep as a significant contender vying for a living Catholic literature.” —Joshua Hren, author of How to Read (and Write) Like a Catholic and co-founder of the MFA program at University of St. Thomas, Houston
“With a brisk narrative pace, Shooting at Heaven’s Gate by Kaye Park Hinckley invites readers to explore the complicated lives of characters suffering with loss, illness, addiction, and deception. The plot twists make this novel both entertaining and thought-provoking with the reassurance that good does win.” —Johnnie Bernhard, award-winning author of Sisters of the Undertow and Hannah and Ariela
“Faith and faithlessness do battle in Kaye Park Hinckley’s thought-provoking, unsparing new novel. She reveals the hellish torments…and heavenly convictions…of everyday people in a small Alabama town in an age of mass shootings. Bring faith as you enter Heaven’s Gate.” —Charles McNair, author of The Epicureans
“Family relations and lifelong secrets, human brokenness and the grace of transformation, mass shootings, deception, sin and forgiveness. These fundamental themes of the human search for meaning, of the challenge of faith, reconciliation and conversion, are woven throughout this story of a small town in rural Alabama. The complexities of each character, from university professors to farm hands, become the stage for an exploration of the human condition, in the style of C.S. Lewis, with echoes of T.S. Eliot, Geoffrey Chaucer, Macbeth and many others. The novel is followed by a list of themes, questions for book discussions and selected quotes, making it all the easier for study groups of any kind. —Fr. Christopher Viscardi, SJ, Chair and Professor of Theology, Spring Hill College