Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

God's Spy: A Novel

God's Spy: A Novel

4.2 21
by Juan Gomez-Jurado, James Graham (Translator)

See All Formats & Editions

The #1 Spanish bestseller, sold in over 40 countries, a spectacular contemporary thriller set in the heart of the Vatican

A ruthless serial killer, a chilling conspiracy, and a deadly race around the Vatican converge in this internationally bestselling thriller. In the days following the death of Pope John Paul II, the horribly disfigured body of a cardinal


The #1 Spanish bestseller, sold in over 40 countries, a spectacular contemporary thriller set in the heart of the Vatican

A ruthless serial killer, a chilling conspiracy, and a deadly race around the Vatican converge in this internationally bestselling thriller. In the days following the death of Pope John Paul II, the horribly disfigured body of a cardinal is discovered in a chapel in Rome. With a serial killer now on the loose in the Vatican, Police Inspector Paola Dicanti is assigned to the grisly case. Desperate to find the killer before another victim dies, she enlists the help of Father Anthony Fowler, a charismatic American priest who knows more about the killer than Paola could have imagined. As Paola and Father Anthony struggle through the web of tantalizing clues, the evidence leads them to powerful figures within the Church hierarchy. But their pursuit of the truth may make them the next pawns to be sacrificed in this terrifying and deadly game.

Editorial Reviews

Electrifying. . . . A wild, compelling ride.
Que Leer (Spain)
Juan Gómez-Jurado is the new pope of Vatican intrigue.
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
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 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Madrid journalist Gómez-Jurado hopes to replicate the instant success he enjoyed in Spain with this English translation of his first novel, set during the 2005 Conclave to elect a new pope. Paola Dicanti, Italy's only Quantico-trained certified profiler, is chasing a serial killer targeting cardinals. The arrival of American priest Padre Fowler, who identifies the suspect, provides many layers of intrigue. Fowler is a psychologist, former CIA operative, and persona non grata with the Curia. His deep insight into the case stems from time served as a therapist at a rehab facility for Catholic priests with a history of sexual abuse—another layer of intrigue. Dicanti must learn to trust him if she wants to catch the killer before he strikes again. The Vatican secret police have their own agenda, and Dicanti finds the sovereign nation makes her job nearly impossible. A grisly story in the tradition of Thomas Harris, Gómez-Jurado's richly detailed thriller will appeal more to fans of TV's Criminal Mindsthan to those of CSI. Recommended for most popular fiction collections.
—Laura A.B. Cifelli
Kirkus Reviews
A man and a woman leading a murder investigation discover a dark truth about the Catholic Church in this thriller that . . . oh, you've heard this one before?First published in Spain, G-mez-Jurado's debut is clearly designed to capitalize on the success of The Da Vinci Code, but it wouldn't be fair to call it a knockoff. There's almost no code-cracking (the one instance of cryptology reads like a joking acknowledgment of the author's key inspiration), and instead of focusing on millennia-old theology, its plot revolves around more contemporary concerns about pedophile priests. Shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II, detective Paola Dicanti is called to the Vatican to investigate the gruesome murder of a cardinal. Two more cardinals are found dead in a similar manner soon after, and with more than 100 cardinals set to arrive to elect the next pope, she's under serious pressure to both find the serial killer and keep the murders under wraps. Luckily, she has her top-flight Quantico training on her side, as well as the assistance of Father Anthony Fowler, a former CIA agent and counselor at the Catholic Church's semi-secret rehab facility for priests with histories of sexual abuse. Fowler identifies the likely killer as Victor Karosky, a priest who transcended his own history of abuse by self-righteously offing high-ranking liberal Catholics. Letting the reader know the murderer's identity early doesn't lessen the drama, but it does leave more room for G-mez-Jurado's unsophisticated pop-psych ruminations about what makes a pedophile priest, a silly subplot about a freelance journalist who threatens to break the story wide open and an unconvincing attempt to build a love story out ofDicanti and Fowler's relationship. The climax has the requisite tension, but the characters are ultimately so weakly drawn that it's hard to believe that the future of an entire faith is at stake. Ambitious, but never for a moment inspiring.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 7.93(h) x 1.01(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Javier Sierra
Juan Gómez-Jurado has deftly managed to convey a sinister side of not just the Vatican. His God's Spy in reality offers a stunning literary portrait of the darkness that lies within us all. And recognizing that darkness is essential to combating it. (Javier Sierra, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Supper)
Raymond Khoury
A dark and riveting murder thriller, crafted with great cunning and flair. A classy and hugely satisfying piece of writing. (Raymond Khoury, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Templar)

Meet the Author

Juan Gomez-Jurado is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio and television. Published in more than thirty-five countries worldwide, God’s Spy is his first novel. He lives with his wife and daughter in Spain.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

God's Spy 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
xoxojp More than 1 year ago
This book is Exceptional! At first it was a bit hard to get in to, but I am so glad that I continued on. Great thriller, page turner. Just when you think you have it figured out, whap, he takes us around a corner and there is something else. Wow, good good read!
KenCady More than 1 year ago
A second read of God's Spy some years after the first had me liking it less.
STORE NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
agonzalezjr More than 1 year ago
I was afraid of an "Angels and Daemons" rerun, but this is a totally different story that happens to share the same setting and maybe a couple other things. Vivid descriptions of the Vatican and enticing historical recounts will draw you in. A shame the weak dialogs -- and an overly anti-American feeling throughout the story -- will be competing for your attention. JGJ's journalistic style will be better served by an adventure ... hope this will be his next step.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NoNonsenseReader More than 1 year ago
Those who love serial-killer novels will enjoy this book very much, as well as those who like stories on the subject of Vatican secrecy and scandals. For my taste, a little too much time and space is dedicated by the author (especially in the first half) to graphic and thorough descriptions of murders, as well as the background and psychological profiling. The second half, however, has more action, and the book becomes a page-turner.

In any case, even though the whole idea behind the plot is too far-fetched, the book has the intelligent feel, it is well-written by a young Spanish author, and well-translated.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
'God's Spy' is a very tricky book. When i bought it, I thought I was buying a Vatican intrigue. When I finished it, I realized that this is probable the best mistery suspense thriller that I've ever read. This book, as complex, nervy, hard edged and fast paced as if the author was 50 years old, it's a debut novel that drips tension from every page. The prose is straight-to-the-point, downbeat, efficient, bruisingly evocative, yet eloquent at the same time. Gomez-Jurado is a cut above the bestseller-writing hacks. The structure is the extremely well used flashbacks, alternating between chapters on the present day and the documents of the Victor Karosky's dossier. Basically a interweaving of a forward timeline and a backward timeline, but using a compelling collage of different sources. In certain points, this is so attractive (especially when the bad guy speaks: it's one of the most despicable bad guys I've come across in a long time) that I even preferred it to the main plot. The story is fascinatingly complex, and focuses on events of recent History (death of Pope John Paul II) as seen through the eyes of three very different lead fictional characters: Paola Dicanti, a FBI trained profiler with an attitude Andrea Otero, a feisty journalist and Padre Fowler, a mysterious priest. All of them are involved with a devious serial killer, which name is revealed in the first page of the novel. The various fictional characters mingle with real-life figures such as John Negroponte, George Bush, John Paul II or Benedict XVI among others. The subjects covered in this book are both sensitive and explosive: The very existence of the Saint Matthew Institute, a facility utilizing a controversial method for the treatment of pederast clergy, it's astounding. But I don't want to bore anybody with the plot other reviewers have already said everything about this crazy maze of interwoven fictitious and historically true events that needs to be said. Gómez-Jurado descriptive powers are unmatched in describing violence, and no one, no one, comes off as good in this. 'God's Spy' is a profoundly disturbing book, a meditation on power, religion and the human mind, and you will breeze through it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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. On top of all this, the investigative team grows a third head with the arrival of an American priest and former Army intelligence officer. Father Fowler does come with critical information, at least ¿ namely, the identity of the killer. Already, you can see how God's Spy differs from your conventional murder mystery thriller. Paola doesn't have the resources or stature to go Dirty Harry on anybody, the murderer's identity is established early on, and the investigative process consists of a great deal of internal bickering between parties with their own separate interests. With the killer targeting important cardinals of the impending papal conclave, he must be stopped at all costs ¿ but without the knowledge of the cardinals or, heaven forbid, the tens of thousands of mourners descending upon the city to pay their respects to John Paul II. Those kinds of conditions put Paola in an extremely difficult position. As for the killer, he is one wily devil, that's for sure, as he manages to kill and kill again before slipping away into thin air. On numerous occasions, though, the working relationships of the investigators take on even more interest than the investigation itself, especially when it comes to the uncomfortable working dynamics between the Vatican ecclesiastical authorities, the Vatican police, the Italian police, and whoever Father Fowler actually works for. The murderer isn't the only character keeping secrets over the course of this grisly saga. God's Spy remains at all times an intriguing, surprisingly in-your-face mystery thriller, featuring a steady dose of adrenaline-packed action and a surprising amount of gore courtesy of the sadistic killer. Knowing the identity of the killer takes nothing away from the mystery, as unanswered questions dot the landscape of the investigation and Gomez-Jurado delivers a number of fairly significant surprises in the book's final pages. As I mentioned earlier, though, I do feel something was lost in the translation from Spanish to English. Some of the sentences read rather awkwardly, and I can't help but wonder if some of the language used by certain characters is accurate or just a product of the translation. If you are fluent in Spanish, I would defi
Guest More than 1 year ago
Juan Gómez-Jurado is a young writer form Spain who jumps into the circle of fine international novelists with this his first book, GOD¿S SPY. Previously published in Spanish as ESPIA DE DIOS in 2005 and a best seller in thirty five countries, it now is introduced to the American audiences in a translation by James Graham. GOD¿S SPY is a fascinating, intellectually challenging, informative dark gothic work about the inner workings of the Vatican: it also is one of the finest suspense mystery thrillers to be published in the last decade. Setting the story in Rome in April of 2005 at the time of the death of Pope John Paul II, a time when the entire world focused on the mourning of a the passing of the enormously popular Polish pope, Gómez-Jurado sets the stage for the gathering of the 115 cardinals from around the globe on whose shoulders rests the selection of the next pope in an insidiously terrifying manner: there seems to be a brutally necrophiliac serial killer at large whose apparent role is to kill the candidates for the papacy. Assigned to investigate the initial brutal torture and loathsome dismemberment of the first cardinal is a cadre of investigators: Paola Dicanti is an inspector and psychiatrist with Italian police accompanied by detectives Troi and Pontiero and a forensic sculptor Biffi the Vatican police force `Corpo Vigilanza¿ represented by Cirin and Dante and Anthony Fowler, a priest with a background as a former officer in the US Air Force Intelligence who has a mysterious past. Gómez-Jurado wisely allows the reader to know the identity of the serial killer practically from the first page and it is this technique that serves to make the interplay of the cardinals, priests, Vatican forces, police and journalists more engrossing. The manner in which the characters ¿ with heavy emphasis on Fowler and Dicanti ¿ unravel the clues found at the site of each gruesome murder, each incident unveiling personal backgrounds and demons of each of the people involved, makes for suspenseful reading of the highest order. In the short span between the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI we are taken on a series of events from April 2 ¿ 20, 2005 that make for intoxicating reading! Though many will draw the inevitable comparison with `The Da Vinci Code¿ there is far more information contained in this novel, far superior writing, and the secret workings of the Vatican are both illuminating and fascinating to read. Gómez-Jurado is a powerful writer not only in developing an irresistibly engrossing storyline, but also in creating a large cast of characters each of whom is carefully constructed so that we can see and feel them: the proof of the pudding lies in the fact that there are no extraneous characters created ¿ each person we meet is integral to the story. This is a novel that is satisfying on every level and one that pleads to be transformed into cinematic form. With GOD¿S SPY Juan Gómez-Jurado leaps onto the stage as a fully develop and very gifted writer. He is an artist to watch. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
I will not try to recapitulate the events of the novel since this is something you had to found out by yourself. But I will say that this is a brilliantly written novel with the unusual twist of having women as the heroes. It is also a page turner without the hurried feel of so many in this genre including the oft mentioned Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It was totally unlike anything I had read before. I have read one hundred books last year but would rate God's Spy as one of the five best I've read. A must for 2007.