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God's Spy: A Novel Paperback – February 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A routine plot doesn't do justice to the intriguing premise of this debut thriller, a bestseller in Spain, about a serial killer stalking the cardinals poised to vote on Pope John Paul II's successor. Young, attractive Paola Dicanti, an inspector in an Italian violent crime unit and an FBI-trained profiler, is summoned to a church in Vatican City where a cardinal's mutilated corpse has been discovered. To her outrage, Dicanti learns that the victim is the second in a series, and that the identity of the killer—a pedophilic priest with a history of violence, Victor Karosky—is known to a new and mysterious ally, Anthony Fowler, a former priest and American intelligence operative. The cat-and-mouse game between the police and Karosky is nothing new, while Gómez-Jurado's use of the sex scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic church is sensational rather than sensitive. American readers may be amused that Bush administration figure John Negroponte plays the part of shadowy backstage conspirator. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Italian police inspector and profiler Paola Dicanti is not one to shrink from a challenge. But she's never been up against the likes of Victor Karosky. The American priest is on a mission to murder and mutilate cardinals who have arrived in Vatican City to elect a new pope in the wake of John Paul II's death. Though Karosky's identity is revealed early on, it doesn't lessen the suspense of Spanish writer Gomez-Jurado's riveting debut. He deftly weaves together the perspectives of perpetrator and pursuers alike: cold-blooded Karosky, a sexually abused child who has become a deeply dysfunctional adult; temperamental Inspector Dicanti, forever butting heads with the territorial and often pompous Vatican City police; and enigmatic priest and former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Anthony Fowler, whose knowledge of Karosky proves pivotal to the case. The action unfolds against the backdrop of Vatican City, where countless pilgrims have gathered, wholly unaware of the heinous crimes taking place. Some rough spots in the translation distract from this otherwise first-rate thriller. Thomas Harris meets Dan Brown. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452289122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452289123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Juan Gómez-Jurado (Dec 1977 Madrid, Spain) is an award winning journalist and bestselling author. He is one of the three most successful contemporary Spanish authors along with New York Times bestselling authors Javier Sierra and Carlos Ruiz Zafón. In 2010, Juan celebrated the mark of 3 million readers worldwide.

Juan is the author of three international bestselling novels: GOD'S SPY, THE MOSES EXPEDITION, and THE TRAITOR'S EMBLEM. They have been translated into 40+ languages.

Juan is a family man and an avid reader and traveller. He lives in Spain with his wife and two children. They are commited to humanitarian causes such as Heifer and Save the Children. After his wife being diagnosed with cancer, Gomez-Jurado became an activist to fighting colon cancer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Leontes on April 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"God's Spy" tells the story of a serial killer dispatching Cardinals with bloody glee: as such - as it investigates Catholic arcana, features many chases, and an incipient love story between an American and a European - it will, of course, be blithely compared to the Earth-Shatteringly Popular Novel We Will Not Name. But Juan Gomez-Jurado's work deserves much closer scrutiny, and it deserves, more importantly, to be read. Paola Discanti, his heroine, is both compelling and sympathetic, and Father Fowler is a winning foil. Gomez-Jurado writes with an insider's knowledge of Rome and the Vatican, and more importantly for a crime novelist, an insider's knowledge of a damaged human mind. Definitely a writer to watch.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Derek on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No spoilers.

Please take God's Spy for what it is and nothing more. If you are looking for a guilty pleasure read (as many books in this post-da Vinci genre are often termed,) then this novel is what you are looking for. While God's Spy doesn't have any of the unexpected twists or "out-of-nowhere" shockers that are found in Dan Brown and James Rollins-esque books of the same nature (religious and political conspiracy,) if you are looking for an extremely quick read that you don't need to focus too much on and is subject to being interruped without losing one's place in the story, then this novel is fine.

The bottom line is that you should read this book if you devour books and don't spend more than several days reading one. However, if you're looking for an engrossing read or one with unseen complications and baffling mysteries that need solving, you will not be satisfied here.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It takes literary guts for a first-time novelist to set his tale of bloody murder against the backdrop of the death of as beloved a pope as John Paul II, but that is exactly what young Juan Gomez-Jurado has done. You certainly can't argue with the book's success, either, as it has already attained bestseller status in Europe and Latin America. I believe something has been lost in James Graham's English translation of the original Spanish novel, but God's Spy is still a riveting, unorthodox thriller that holds nothing back in its account of a maniacal priest targeting prominent cardinals for obscene torture and murder - and one Italian investigator's torturous, continually restricted mission to stop him.

Murder just doesn't happen in Vatican City, yet Detective Paola Dicanti can't deny the obvious as she gazes down on what is left of a body found murdered upon the altar of the Church of Santa Maria. I won't go into details, but I will tell you they are grisly, enough to make Jack the Ripper glance away. Things only get worse when she discovers the dead man is a prominent cardinal, one of the men who would soon be choosing a new pope to replace the just-deceased John Paul II. In one way, it's just the kind of case Paola has been longing for, one that finally gives her a chance to put her FBI profiling training to use. In every other way, though, it's a nightmare. While nominally in charge, she is compelled to work with Vatican authorities whose determination to keep everything secret makes them a hindrance as much of a help. As the best example of this, Paola is furious to discover that another murder preceded this one - with all evidence, including the body of the dead cardinal, destroyed by the Vatican.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a thriller, in many ways reminding me of the books by Dan Brown. The premise is that the Catholic Church is a much more complex and brutal entity than the world believes. It still maintains a small private army, the purpose of which is to advance church interests by any means up to and including assassination.

The setting is the death of Pope John Paul II and the upcoming election of the new pope. Two of the most liberal members of the College of Cardinals are brutally murdered. Their eyes are gouged out and messages carved into their skin. This leads to investigations by the Vatican police, whose leader is an absolutely ruthless man. He has no compunctions about beating up a female reporter and probably would have killed her had another police officer not intervened. Other police agencies are involved, a female officer (Paola) and a Catholic priest (Anthony) with a background in the CIA eventually become an unlikely team. Very quickly, they become convinced that it is the work of a serial killer named Victor Karosky, a former Catholic priest. Karosky was sexually and psychologically abused by his parents as a child and as a priest, was abusing the young parishioners. He was sent to a secret "correction camp" run by the church whose purpose is to deal with priests who stray to pedophilia. While he was there, no attempt was made to rehabilitate Karosky, he was further brutalized so that he would turn into a ruthless killer.

However, after several more deaths where Karosky seems to be able to move within the Cardinal enclave at will, Paola determines that Karosky is in fact a hired assassin. His employer is revealed at the end, and the motive is nothing more than the all-to-human desire for power and prestige.
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