An American couple in Italy investigate the suicide of a cleric in the picturesque Italian city of Orvieto―and find themselves plunged into a conspiracy that may destroy the Catholic Church. In the stunning thriller Upon This Rock, San Francisco business executive Lee Maury and his husband Adriano come to Orvieto to soak in the city’s beauty and rich history, but Lee becomes fascinated with a local tragedy, the suicide one year earlier of Deacon Andrea, a much-loved candidate for the priesthood.
Growing obsessed with learning the truth behind Andrea’s death, Lee finds that everyone in Orvieto has some connection with Andrea: the handsome former Swiss Guard and bisexual prostitute Grigori; the kindly elderly priest Don Bello; the gossipy American expat blogger Lady Peg; the secretive young German doctor Luka; the irascible nonagenarian baker La Dona Volsini and her USA-loving grandson Marco; African immigrant street musician Dawud and his sister Maryam, who is en route to Italy with black market smugglers; the exiled Episcopal priest Rev. Vicki; Orvieto’s new bishop, Arnaud, a sexually conflicted member of Opus Dei; the powerful head of the Vatican press office Cardinal Maltoni; and the secretive political fixer Magda Carter. Woven throughout is a 500-year-old backstory―the plight of Medici Pope Clement VII who sought refuge in Orvieto following the Sack of Rome, whose time in Orvieto is somehow linked to the mysteries of the present.
As Lee and Adriano struggle to make sense of the relationships tying all these people to Andrea’s suicide, they stumble upon a conspiracy of terrorism, human trafficking, and a plot to plant a nuclear dirty bomb in the tomb of St. Peter. Before they know it, Lee and Adriano’s dream vacation becomes a race to save innocent lives―and not get killed in the process.
“Perry has written an elegant, twisty thriller in which a gay couple investigates a mysterious suicide in a scenic Italian hill town. It’s not hard to imagine that this book could do for Orvieto what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah.”
— Armistead Maupin, author of the internationally acclaimed “Tales of the City.”
“Upon This Rock is for those readers who love Italy and who love crime fiction. David Perry evokes the spirit of the ancient Italian town of Orvieto, in a 21st-century thriller that takes in several centuries of history.”
— Lucinda Hawksley, author, speaker and great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. author of Dickens’s Artistic Daughter, Katey”
“When Lee and Adriano take a sabbatical from their hectic professional life in San Francisco, they choose the hauntingly beautiful and seemingly tranquil town of Orvieto, Italy. Quickly immersing themselves in the local culture, history, and religious significance of their temporary home, they relish the apparent openness of their welcoming new neighbors. Yet, beneath the surface are secrets that quickly entrap Lee and Adriano in an unlikely web–tainted by the darkness of Nazi occupation, Vatican machinations, and migrant human trafficking—that mirrors papal history five hundred years earlier. David Perry’s tale brings to life a cast of characters and settings that powerfully dramatize the plot and draw the reader toward each new page-turning twist.”
— Linda Frank — Author of the Lily Kovner “Jewish Miss Marple” novels After the Auction, The Lost Torah of Shanghai and The Nice Little Blonde Girl
“Come for esoterically fascinating Vatican history and centuries-spanning ecclesiastical skullduggery, stay for a delectably rewarding, genre-spanning tapestry of romance, mystery, and literary tourism. Perry is no armchair explorer: this inventive debut blends evocative travel journalism with engrossing story-telling.”