Father Sweet


A shocking tale of secrets, guilt, and clerical child abuse.

“God has made you special, but I will show you how to have an extraordinary life. Show you true love, as God intended for our kind.”

It’s 1978. Blackburn Hamlet is a typical suburban village in eastern Ontario. In this vibrant Catholic community, life revolves around family and church. Then the safe comfort of both is destroyed by the arrival of a predator priest.

When charismatic Father Sweet invites his new favourite altar boy on a camping trip, the boy’s parents insist he go. Trapped in the woods, the boy struggles to evade the priest’s sexual advances. But Father Sweet forces him to make an impossible choice.

Twenty-five years later, he is lost, broken, and angry. His father’s death reveals secrets that spur the man to relive his own past. Desiring justice, in need of healing, he discovers, in a daring rescue mission, a way to achieve both.


Living Now Book Awards — Fiction


Martin’s arresting debut [is] a deeply unsettling work that will make a lasting impact on readers. This novel is a reckoning with the horrendous lack of a just response to institutions which failed to protect their most vulnerable citizens.


Father Sweet is a page-turner dripping with dread and torment. J.J. Martin’s debut novel is laced with tendrils of fear, anger, horror, and rage, but it’s also one with threads of hope, redemption, truth, and acceptance. We must all atone for what our people participated in — be it by church or state — and the fact that Martin told a compelling story about it without alienating the reader is a masterful achievement.

Timothy S. Johnston, author of The War Beneath

Martin’s literary style and poignant, gripping narration keep readers spellbound throughout.


Beautifully writen, filled with vivid characters, descriptions and events, Father Sweet was illuminating, eye-opening and unputdownable … It is clear from the beginning that this was a work of love for the author and I congratulate him.


The audiobook version of Father Sweet is brought to life by Craig Lauzon and I can tell you that he does an excellent job with it … He reads in a clear and soothing voice, switching between characters effortlessly. Now he is a happy kid, a horny priest or a police woman. He puts everything he has into this performance and the end result is a great, immersive narrative experience.
[Review of Audiobook]


About the Author

J.J. Martin

Posted by Dundurn Guest on September 18, 2018
J.J. Martin photo

J.J. Martin

J.J. Martin grew up Catholic in Ontario and pursued graduate studies in Anthropology of Religion at the University of Ottawa. His articles have appeared in multiple news outlets, including the Globe and Mail. He lives in Toronto.