The Jesuit Thriller series
When I sat down to write the first book of the Jesuit Thriller series, the only things I had in mind were the main character—a thoughtful Jesuit priest—and the idea to thrust this peace-loving man into a cesspool of violence and moral turpitude. And though I love 007 just as much as the next guy—more actually—I thought it would be interesting to look inside the mind of an assassin who most definitely does not have a license to kill. All I needed was a plausible way to make it happen—the tense opening scene of Absolution inside an airless confessional—and I was on the way to create an entirely different sort of protagonist. (One that pulls the trigger, yes, but not without remorse.)
And while there are other clerical characters in thrillers—the maniacal albino priest in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and the Machiavellian Cardinal Valendrea in Steve Berry's The Third Secret come to mind—Marco is decidedly different. He is a Jesuit priest, who would rather be 'hearing confessions, celebrating mass and anointing the sick. These were the things a priest did.' But Marco does share some of the traits of another clerical protagonist, the 'whiskey priest' in Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory; he shares his moral consciousness—but not his gnawing despair—and he shares his courage. Like Greene's iconic character, Marco yearns to escape his fate, but he doesn't—and thank heaven for that, because I wouldn't have much of a series if he did.
Read about the first in the series: Absolution