I wanted to read Electus Per Deus by Bianca Pheasant just to figure out what the title meant. Natalie was a type of missionary. She hadn’t started out that way. While studying law she became enthralled with missionary work that rescued followers of the occult. Soon she became too busy to complete her law studies and instead devoted herself completely to the church. Now, the church was threatened; there had even been bomb threats. Natalie felt personally threatened. Blood found on a window to her room confirmed she was targeted.
Natalie would be proven correct, she was personally threatened as she was considered too powerful an influence over those who left a cult of Satanists led by Ethel. Natalie convinced them to instead join her ministry, Victory in Jesus. Natalie would have to go. In order to plan her murder and lure her to a place where it could be done, Ethel would use Johanna, a spy in the Victory ministry.
Mathew was a detective assigned to crimes involving the Satanists as well as their Victory opponents. A dedicated detective, he was also dedicated to Rebecca, a junior police officer he was falling in love with.
We have a romantic interest, a mystery, and elements of the occult, Voodoo, Satanism, and a power struggle for leadership within the Satanist cult over who will succeed Ethyl. Will it be Nathaniel and Lorraine, children of Ethyl, or will it be Johanna, a spy for the Satanists? It is of passing interest that such a power struggle does not exist among the forces of good. Readers who have a binary view of the world, it is either good or evil and there are not 50 shades in between, will enjoy this short story.
Without being sexually explicit, we have descriptions of a heterosexual relationship (Mathew and Rebecca) and a lesbian relationship (Ethyl and Johanna). Readers may infer an incestuous relationship (Nathaniel and Lorraine). And there is a married relationship between a senior police official with his wife such that the senior official gives orders for investigations while actively entertaining his wife. I’m not sure how to categorize that. This short story drowns in themes and characters none of which can be adequately explored in a short story but it provides a launch point for the author to develop full-length novels. In other words, there is no satisfying ending.