THE CONFESSION OF JOE CULLEN by Howard Fast

THE CONFESSION OF JOE CULLEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A pilot-for-hire confesses his complicity in murder and drug-smuggling to church and state and gets neither absolution nor arraignment, just lots of nasty trouble. Lapsed Catholic, Manhattanite, and master-pilot Joe Cullen tries first to unburden himself to a kindly neighborhood priest--who gently explains that Cullen has got to believe in God before he can be cleansed of the sin of throwing a priest from a helicopter. But Joe is too honest to lie about his disbelief, so he goes around the corner to the local police station and confesses on tape to having flown tons of guns from Texas to Honduras; to having returned from Honduras to Texas with hundreds of kilos of drugs; and to having failed to prevent the defenestration of a meddlesome priest from the helicopter he was flying. Still, the flabbergasted detectives can't arrest Joe--everything he did was done out of the country. They have to let Joe walk and then wait for Washington's reaction to the tape. The reaction is swift. Forget it. Forget you ever heard, saw, or discussed any of it. And we'll take all the copies of the tape, please. Immediately. Joe, still grieving for the Jesuit he had come to admire, becomes the object of a murderous hunt. He is the last uncontrolled memory of a very nasty conspiracy. Unless District Attorney Harold Timberman made an insurance copy of the tape. And unless Detective Freedman, NYPD, can't control his conscience. . . Swift-moving and deft. Simplistic politics, but, once again, the tireless author entertains.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1989
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin