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 The Betz Review for contributing her review of God's Spy.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a trade paperback edition of God's Spy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Moses Expedition
Atria Books (Hardcover), August 2010
ISBN-13: 9781416590644; ISBN-10: 1416590641
Location(s) referenced in God's Spy: Rome, Italy
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God's Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado — A Paola Dicanti Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $14.00