cover image A Killing for Christ

A Killing for Christ

Pete Hamill. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-61775-578-1

This reissue marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of journalist Hamill’s first novel, an angry diatribe. In early 1968, at a time of ferment over the Vietnam War and the direction of the Catholic Church, a number of disaffected people collide in Rome, including American voluptuary James Rail; Richard Harwell, a rabidly anti-Semitic Jew; and Fr. Robert Malloy, an Irish priest, and his Italian lover, Franca. Malloy, who travels in high social circles, gets wind of a plot to assassinate the pope among the dissolute denizens of Rome. As Easter and the assassination date approach, Malloy begins to understand what is happening, but will he try to prevent it? In a new introduction, Hamill (Tabloid City) comments on the book’s influences and what he now considers its primary theme: the loss of faith. Indeed, this thriller is of most interest as a guide to the author’s political and religious views during that tumultuous era. (Mar.)