Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mystery Book Review: God's Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of God's Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

God's Spy by Juan Gomez-JuradoBuy from Amazon.com

God's Spy by
A Paola Dicanti Mystery

Plume (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-452-28912-2 (0452289122)
ISBN-13: 978-0-452-28912-3 (9780452289123)
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $14.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): In the days following the death of Pope John Paul II, the horribly disfigured body of a cardinal is discovered in a chapel in Rome. With a serial killer now on the loose in the Vatican, Police Inspector Paola Dicanti is assigned to the grisly case. Desperate to find the killer before another victim dies, she enlists the help of Father Anthony Fowler, a charismatic American priest who knows more about the killer than Paola could have imagined. As Paola and Father Anthony struggle through the web of tantalizing clues, the evidence leads them to powerful figures within the Church hierarchy. But their pursuit of the truth may make them the next pawns to be sacrificed in this terrifying and deadly game.

Review: Juan Gomez-Juardo's debut novel, God's Spy, introduces Rome police inspector Paola Dicanti investigating a series of brutal murders in the Vatican.

It is April 2005 and Pope John Paul II has died. One hundred and fifteen cardinals from around the globe are called in to a conclave to elect a new pope. Before this could be accomplished, three cardinals destined to sit on the conclave, one from Argentina, another from Brazil, and one from Italy, are found horribly mutilated and dead at the foot of various altars in the church. A group of three specialized police officers, headed by Inspector Paola Dicanti, begin their investigation. They know who they are looking for, but he has ethereal disguises. He is able to fool and kill one of the officers hunting him. His goal is to kill them all, especially Paola. But it is Paola’s promise to her fellow officers that she will find and kill him first.

God's Spy has a significant and detailed backstory to the murders that brings in the character of Dr. Anthony Fowler, an American Catholic priest but also a retired US Air Force intelligence officer and a psychologist trained in sexual behavioral problems. Father Anthony knows the killer and even counseled him at one time. The partnership of Father Anthony and Inspector Dicanti is a compelling one, and brings together two very different characters that work well together in the context of the story.

There are several questions posed in God's Spy that contribute to its suspense. Were the three murdered cardinals chosen at random or was there something that linked them together? Were the murders the work of a serial killer with more killings to come, or someone whose task (as it were) was now complete? What secrets are being kept by the Vatican hierarchy? Or even by Italian officials?

God's Spy is a remarkable, sinister, at times breathtaking, novel that incorporates an event already shrouded in secrecy (the election of a new pope) into an impressive murder mystery. It is highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of God's Spy and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review. God's Spy was originally published as a hardcover in April 2007.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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