Dutton Books, Apr 2008, $24.95
With the death of Pope John Paul II, the College of Cardinals is gathering in the Vatican to vote on his successor. At about the same time as the Cardinals Concave is to begin to travel to the Holy City, Italian Department for Analysis of Violent Crime Police Detective Paola Dicanti is at a horrific murder scene, the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina where a Cardinal was mutilated and murdered in a scene straight out of Dante.
However, the cop is stunned when former priest turned espionage agent Anthony Fowler informs her that the victim is the second Cardinal brutally murdered since the Pope died. Even more shocking is when the visiting American operative informs her who the culprit is; violent pedophilic priest Victor Karosky who escaped from the Saint Matthew Institute in Maryland. They work together praying they can prevent a third homicide.
Using real people like Bush, Negroponte, Pope John Paul II, etc adds a touch of reality to this Italian police procedural constructed around a supposedly contained sexually predatory priest stalking the cardinals. Fans will enjoy this conspiratorial thriller as image supersedes preventing homicides whether it is the Italian police, the American government or the Vatican.