Wednesday, August 29, 2007

God's Spy - Juan Gomez-Jurado


God’s Spy
Juan Gómez-Jurado
translation by James Graham
Dutton

Thriller

In the days after the death of Pope John Paul II, hundreds of thousands of mourners pour into Vatican City and Rome from all over the globe. In the midst of this chaos, a serial killer is at work. A priest finds a Cardinal dead in a church; eyes and hands removed. The scene clearly indicates that the Cardinal was killed somewhere else, then transported to the church; but how that could have happened through the packed streets is an open question.

Investigating the crime is the head of the violent crimes unit, Inspector Paola Dicanti. She’s also a criminal profiler, having completed the coursework with the FBI. She’s sure that the killer has done this before; the scene is too complex for this to be a first-time killer. She quickly learns she’s right when the head of the Vatican City police appears on the scene and tells her that this is the second such murder. The first was covered up, and all evidence destroyed by the Vatican City Police.

Owing to the conflicting jurisdictions and the obviously delicate political climate, Dicanti will have to work with a representative of the Vatican police. This is an uneasy alliance at best, with neither side truly willing to trust the other. Adding to the confusion is Father Anthony Fowler, a priest from America, who arrives in time to drop the biggest bombshell so far: the identity of the killer, a pedophile priest. But knowing the killer’s name and finding him in the hordes of people in the city are two very different things. It must be done, and it must be done quickly, as Cardinals are arriving to elect the new Pope. As the body count rises, the investigation continues to deepen, uncovering an incredible conspiracy.

Although the reader discovers the name of the killer, and a fairly extensive history of him, fairly early on, this has little effect on the investigation. The tensions between the Church and city authorities ring very true. A very serviceable thriller, GOD’S SPY falls strangely flat in several places. This may be due in part to the inevitable loss of nuances when a text is translated. The author manages to throw in a few interesting twists to keep things interesting, and anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller, tinged with more than a hint of gore will enjoy this one.

Rating: 7
April 2007
ISBN# 978-0-525-94994-7 (hardcover)

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