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Broken Faith
     

Broken Faith

by James Green
 

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Corrupt ex-copper, and fixer for the Catholic Church, Jimmy Costello is sent to Spain to investigate when a senior cleric is accused of being part of ETA, the Basque terrorist movement.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, a murder occurs as soon as he gets to Santander, and it's not the last as Jimmy encounters some unwelcome reminders of his violent London past.

His

Overview

Corrupt ex-copper, and fixer for the Catholic Church, Jimmy Costello is sent to Spain to investigate when a senior cleric is accused of being part of ETA, the Basque terrorist movement.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, a murder occurs as soon as he gets to Santander, and it's not the last as Jimmy encounters some unwelcome reminders of his violent London past.

His enigmatic boss in Rome may not approve, but Jimmy, as always, decides to see things through, to the end.

Editorial Reviews

http://crimereview.co.uk/page.php/review/1177

Jimmy Costello is a former corrupt Met detective sergeant whose past has instilled in him a predilection for violence, together with the ability to use it. Wherever Costello goes, a trail of bodies follows. Despite his record, he’s not a bad man. A reluctantly practising, but failed Catholic, he retains enough of his faith to believe in a narrow form of justice – those who live by the sword should die by it – and if necessary he is willing to be the architect of their end.

In this fourth adventure, Costello’s attributes have ensured he becomes a ‘fixer’ for the Collegio Principe, an obscure department of the Vatican. Founded by Cesare Borgia, the devious and brutal bastard son of Pope Alexander VI, the Collegio is tasked with studying the relationship between religion, politics and power. In fact, its job is to bury major scandals.

Far-fetched? Think Banco Ambrosio, the ‘suicide’ of Roberto Calvi under Blackfriars Bridge, the alleged links between Vatican banker Cardinal Paul Marcinkus and the Sicilian mafia, the 2012 leak of Vatican documents, the older dramas of connections to the Croatian Nazi killers of the Ustashe, and the murder of the commander of the Pope’s Swiss Guards, Alois Estermann. If the Collegio doesn’t exist, it should.

Costello is tasked to check a story that a senior cleric is deeply involved with the Basque terrorist organisation ETA. The man he is sent to Santander to see is killed before they can speak and Jimmy is determined to discover why. With the help of an attractive English-speaking Spanish detective, he begins to peel away layers of deceit – and uncovers unwelcome links to his violent north London past.

When it becomes even more personal, Costello, acting, for once, totally on the side of the angels, ignores his own orders to ensure justice is done. Even the ending is sublimely in keeping. Never let your left hand know what your right is doing would be a great motto for the Collegio.

Simple story? Yes. Beautifully plotted, realistic modern crime? Yes. Characters, settings and dialogue spot-on and believable? Yes.

Former headmaster James Green is perhaps better known for his ambitious ‘factional’ series on the development of the American intelligence services. The depth of research and clarity of thought and writing that has gone into that series is just as rigorously applied to his Costello books.

Somehow he manages to skip between two such widely different time periods and genres – and if, like me, you’re bored with endless, improbable serial killers and near-pornographic descriptions of drugs, sex and violence, Costello’s occasional humanity, down-to-earth anger, detective ability and sheer normality is a real tonic.

The Guardian

Green introduces a terrifying paradox of a character - a God-fearing man running both sides of the law for profit. An ultra-hardboiled debut.

Glasgow Herald

An intelligent and well-written thriller that will have you fearing for both men's safety and wondering who's really pulling the strings.

Catholic Herald

A delight to read such an intelligent and well put together novel by an author who has the entertainment of his readers at the front of his mind.

The Daily Mail

Stunningly powerful and tightly written... knows just how to grab the attention.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781909624535
Publisher:
Accent Press, Ltd.
Publication date:
11/14/2013
Series:
The Jimmy Costello Series , #4
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt

A golden sun, a blue sky. A perfect summer day.

Wasted here of course.

This wasn’t tourist Rome; it had no ancient glories like the Forum or the Coliseum, no wedding-cake grandeur like the Victor Emmanuel Monument, no film-fuelled romance like the Trevi fountain.

These towers of glass, concrete and steel weren’t places of pilgrimage like St Peter’s, unless, of course, you worshipped money.

This was where the business of Rome got done, and it could have been Canary Wharf, La Défense or Wall Street, except for the Roman sun bouncing off the concrete and glass.

A man was standing on the pavement, shading his eyes as he looked up.

He was middle-aged, of medium height, with a lived-in face and short grizzled hair. His casual summer clothes were well cared for and good quality, but he still managed to achieve a distinctly crumpled look. He carried no camera, map or guide book, so he wasn’t a stray tourist, but nor did he look like someone who belonged in any of these offices.

But there he was, looking.

Jimmy Costello lowered his hand. The tall office block was like all the others and nothing, he thought, could look less like the home of a venerable institute of learning founded in the seventeenth century. But the top two floors of the block he was looking at was home to the small staff of the Collegio Principe. It was here that they lived and worked and had their being.

The Collegio Principe’s life began as a bequest in the will of Cesare Borgia and had originally been housed in a minor Palazzo close to the Vatican. In those days it was a semi-religious institution staffed by Dominicans and Franciscans. Cesare had endowed the Collegio with farmland on the outskirts of Rome which would provide the income to support the friars and fund their work. That ancient farmland now was the site of this business suburb, home to bankers, brokers and financial wheeler-dealers of all types and sizes. And on the top of one of its towers of commerce were the offices of that one, small, ancient institute of learning and research.

The old Palazzo close to the Vatican still existed, now an exclusive hotel catering to the rich and discerning, but its lease remained the property of the Collegio and the annual rental reflected its enviable position. Whatever problems beset the Collegio’s staff, lack of money was not one of them. The envy of many other academic institutions, they didn’t have to worry about funding while they carried out their founder’s wishes, to study the relationship between religion, politics and power.

Jimmy smiled to himself as he set off towards the entrance. The place suited Professor McBride, because what you saw with her was definitely not what you got either. He crossed the road, left the summer heat and went into the cool, air-conditioned reception.

‘James Costello to see Professor McBride, Collegio Principe.’

The pretty girl behind the desk checked a screen then picked up a phone.

‘Signor Costello to see you, Professore.’ She put the phone down and made a visitor’s badge for him while he signed in. Jimmy took the badge, slipped the cord over his head and put the plastic identification into his shirt pocket. The pretty girl smiled at him. ‘Please go up. You know the way?’

Jimmy nodded. He knew the way.

He went to the lift and pressed the button for the top floor where he got out and walked along the empty, carpeted corridor until he came to a door. He stopped and knocked.

‘Come in.’

The voice was American.

The office was oddly furnished, a heavy, old-fashioned darkwood desk with brass-handled drawers down either side and an ink-stained, inlaid-leather top dominated the centre. Along one wall was a set of ultra-modern cabinets which might have contained anything from drinks to state secrets. On one wall hung a large abstract painting in a severe, chrome frame. On the opposite wall hung a small, dark oil-painting in an ornate gold frame. The carpet was pale blue and might to have been chosen to draw into the office the view from the big window, which looked south towards the distant, blue hills of Frascati. No phone, no computer, no paperwork, and no books: there was nothing to show that anything happened in this room. But the woman sitting behind the desk looked strangely at home there.

‘Please sit down.’

She was like she always was, smart in a black office skirt and ice-white shirt that emphasized the blackness of her skin. Jimmy sat down.

‘It is a small thing but it may be important. I want you to go to Santander in Spain and talk to an Englishman who lives there, a Mr Arthur Jarvis. You are to see if you think there is any truth in the information he passed on to Fr Perez, a local retired priest.’

She stopped. Jimmy waited. Nothing more came.

‘And how am I supposed to do that?’

‘By questioning him.’

‘About what?’

‘About –’

‘I know, the information he gave to Fr Perez. What information?’

Jimmy waited. She was always like this. Getting a straight answer out of her was like trying to pull teeth with your fingers. You were lucky if you could get any kind of grip on what she was actually up to.

‘It is very sensitive.’

‘Like a bad tooth.’

She raised her eyebrows. For her that was a big response.

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘Granted.’

The eyebrows returned to ground level.

‘I sometimes wonder if your help will really be worth having if I have to suffer your sense of humour alongside it. It makes me ask myself if it was a mistake to bring you out of Denmark.’

He accepted the rebuke. She was quite right, he owed her. Without her help he’d probably be dead or doing life in a Danish prison.

‘All right, let’s hear it.’

‘As I said, it is a sensitive matter. Badly handled it could become serious.’

‘And we wouldn’t want that, would we?’ She looked at him. ‘Sorry, carry on.’

He listened in silence while Professor McBride told him why he was going to Santander to talk to a man named Arthur Jarvis. When she had finished he agreed with her that yes, it was sensitive, and that if he ballsed it up it could indeed become serious, very bloody serious. He left the office and went back down to Reception, handed over his visitor’s pass, and was signed out.

Outside, the day seemed even hotter than when he had arrived, but that may have been because inside it was eternally set to American hotel comfort levels. He headed back to the nearest Metro station, half an hour’s walk away with nowhere to rest or shelter from the sun.

He was hot and tired, with the beginnings of a headache, when he finally went down into the comparative cool of the Metro. He was out of the sun but with an hour’s journey still ahead of him. It was days like this, he thought, when he regretted not owning a car. But as he cooled down, the headache left him and he felt better, and he knew that a car would be as useless to him in Rome as it would have been when he lived and worked in London. In London the traffic had been a nightmare; in Rome it was a horror story. The Metro wasn’t crowded, the morning rush was well over and he was able to sit and relax as the train clattered its way to central Rome. He changed lines at Termini which was, as always, busy and noisy, and by the time he came out of the Metro at his home station, Lepanto, he didn’t mind the sun and enjoyed the walk on the shady side of the quiet, tree-lined streets. Soon he would be back in his apartment and could get himself a cold beer.

Jimmy lived in a smart residential district north of the Vatican. His apartment was on the top floor of a four-storey building which looked just like all the other four-storey buildings that lined either side of the street, except that beside his main entrance there was a small restaurant, the Café Mozart.

He went up the stairs, let himself in, went to the kitchen and poured himself a cold beer. While he sat drinking he thought about Santander. He wondered if it would be as hot there as it was in Rome. Probably. But it was by the sea and that meant you got breezes. His mind slipped back to memories of another seaside town, Eastbourne on the south coast, where he, Bernie and the kids had gone on summer holidays. There had been brisk early morning walks, and evening strolls when they’d watched the sun setting over the sea. He remembered how evenings and mornings could be chilly even if the days were warm. He decided it would be a good idea to take along a light jacket. Santander wasn’t Eastbourne, he knew that, but an ingrained English caution about seaside summer weather told him it was always best to be prepared.

Meet the Author

James Green is well known as the author of the Jimmy Costello crime series, the first of which, Bad Catholics, was short-listed for the 2009 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. He is married and lives in Nottinghamshire.

He is also the author of the historical thriller series Another Small Kingdom, which charts the development of the American intelligence services

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