Disgraced ex-reporter Benjamin Justice goes up against his most fearsome adversary yet—the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Twenty years before he won the Pulitzer Prize, young Benjamin was the target of Father Stuart Blackley’s advances. Now Justice has received a $150,000 advance to tell everything from how he shot the father who was abusing his sister to how he was fired over the confiscated Pulitzer, and he plans to give Father Blackley a prominent place in his autobiography. When he goes fishing, however, he finds that Blackley left Buffalo for LA years ago, died in a hiking accident, and is a topic LA Bishop Anthony Finatti, Blackley’s old friend, doesn’t want to discuss. Frustrated at being stonewalled, Justice allows Joe Soto, the LA Times columnist secretly engaged to Justice’s old friend Alexandra Templeton, to go public with Blackley’s history—and then reacts with horror and guilt (not for the last time) as Joe’s killed in a well-planned hit-and-run hours after his column runs. Was the killer behind the wheel penny-dreadful Pablo Zuniga, the freelance assassin on whom Joe had been planning a book, or someone in Cardinal Kendall Doyle’s office who didn’t want anyone spoiling Doyle’s candidacy to become the next pope? Or are those two alternatives really so distinct?
Though unlikely to get the Church’s imprimatur, Justice’s fifth (Justice at Risk, 1999, etc.) is his finest yet: a white-hot exposé fueled by anger, bewilderment, and pain.