Hamill is better known as one of our greatest chroniclers of New York City. In this, his first novel, rereleased on its 50th anniversary, he goes all hard-boiled noir, telling the story of a disaffected American priest and a plot to kill the pope.
--The New York Times Book Review, included in Honor Jones's New & Noteworthy column
I'm a big fan of Pete Hamill's, and can't think of a finer New York novel than Forever. Somehow I'd missed his first book, A Killing for Christ, and am grateful to Akashic for having brought out this fiftieth anniversary edition. It's a strong tale well told, with compelling and fully realized characters. Hamill has grown as a writer since 1968--it would be remarkable if he had not--but you can glimpse in this first novel the writer he would become.
This reissue marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of journalist Hamill's first novel...In a new introduction, Hamill comments on the book's influences and what he now considers its primary theme: the loss of faith.
A Killing for Christ is steeped in noir sensibility....This is a tense, page-turning thriller that is as pertinent today as it was when it was first published.
--Shelf Awareness for Readers
A Killing for Christ has a secret agent out of John le Carr and a spoiled priest-her out of Graham Greene, and Pete Hamill created a novel of suspense that is all his own, and that is why he is a Brooklyn treasure.
As a portrait of time and place, A Killing for Christ is perfect...A Killing for Christ is a gem of a literary thriller, alive with the best noir qualities and not at all date. The Akashic 50th anniversary edition should bring a great novel to the attention of a new audience.
Praise for the original 1968 edition:
A Killing for Christ is a fast-paced, topical thriller...Hamill's prose is stylishly punchy...I would guess that Hamill admires Hemingway, Jimmy Breslin, and Mickey Spillane--not always in that order.
--New York Times
The Helen Macinnes touch...the Hitchcock air.
The style and substance of this first novel owes much to hardboiled, gutsy, private-eye fiction and to a general submersion into obscenity and violence.
A secret agent out of John le Carr ...a spoiled priest-hero out of Graham Greene...a high-voltage novel of suspense that is Pete Hamill's own.
The man in priest's garb gets out of the elevator at the top floor, leaving the gate ajar. He removes the rifle from under his habit and opens the breech. It's loaded. He closes it and steps to the edge of the roof. St. Peter's Square is spread out before him like a great, colorful lake. There are more people than he has ever seen before.
Now the target arrives. The man on top of the building sights down the rifle at the small figure below. His finger is ready on the trigger, ready to gun down His Holiness, the Vicar of Christ...