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Burney's offbeat story, which explores what it might mean to literally share in Christ's suffering, demonstrates an edginess that both attracts and repels. Burney's protagonist, Regina "Gina" Dolores Merritt, is a 24-year-old black, health-conscious, bipolar, once suicidal single mom with fibromyalgia and migraines and a history of mental illness. It's a lot to put on one character. When she appears to receive the stigmata on Ash Wednesday at her Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor, Mich. (perhaps based on real-life pastor Ken Wilson and his church), a circus of sorts ensues. Druggie Anthony Priest shows up to help, as does Priest's alienated mother, Veronica Morelli. Events catapult toward an unexpected conclusion. Burney pushes the boundaries for her faith fiction audience sexually, especially in references to Christ as lover. The multiple first-person perspectives work well, but stories about saints seem inserted rather than integral, and a few characters feel overdrawn. However, Burney's unusual voice, gritty themes, and ecumenical blending should help this uninhibited novel find a home, especially with emergent church readers. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.