Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Holy Bullet-Luis Miguel Rocha

The Holy Bullet
Luis Miguel Rocha
Putnam, Aug 20 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399156007

In 1978 compromised candidate Pope John Paul I, in office a little over a month, is dead just after he announced plans to clean up the House of God everywhere. Soon after his death, the College of Cardinals elects Polish exile Cardinal Karol Jozef Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II. In 1981 an assassination attempt critically wounded the Pope, but he survived; another attempt a year later failed totally. In 2005, Pope John Paul II died.

Soon after his death, rumors spread that the two assassination attempts were not done by crazed lone gunmen, but part of a Vatican conspiracy to prevent reform within the Church. However, it is ironically the death a year later of an octogenarian archbishop in Arizona that serves as the catalyst of a search for the truth to learn who ordered the two failed assassinations.

Although too many wry commentaries detract from a fascinating sequel with a similar premise as that of THE LAST POPE, fans will enjoy this Vatican conspiracy thriller. The story line moves back and forth between the early 1980s (and occasionally late 1970s) and this decade. The fun in this tale (and its predecessor) is in the past although overly descriptive and slower than the modern day subplot filled with more action. Readers who enjoy Vatican conspiracies will appreciate the HOLY BULLET, an intriguing but at times slow paced thriller.

Harriet Klausner