The Art of Political Murder is shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writing
“This is an impressive book. Goldman has focused his superb novelist’s talentscompassion, precision, muscularity, great thoroughness, and an instinct for the exoticon modern-day Guatemala’s ineradicable crime against itself. This remarkable book would seem not to remind us of ourselves, yet somehow it does.” Richard Ford
The first nonfiction book from acclaimed novelist Francisco Goldman, who began his career as a writer covering the 1980s wars in Central America for Harper’s, The Art of Political Murder
is the story of the murder investigation of a Guatemalan bishop with the twisting plot and colorful characters of a Graham Greene novel.
Bishop Juan Gerardi, Guatemala’s leading human rights activist, was bludgeoned to death in his garage on a Sunday night in 1998, two days after the presentation of a groundbreaking church-sponsored report implicating the military in the murders and disappearances of some two hundred thousand civilians. Realizing that it could not rely on police investigators or the legal system to solve the murder and bring those responsible to justice, the church formed its own investigative team, a group of secular young men in their twenties who called themselves Los Intocables (the Untouchables). Known in Guatemala as “The Crime of the Century,” the Bishop Gerardi murder case, with its unexpectedly outlandish scenarios and sensational developments, confounded observers and generated extraordinary controversy. For seven years, novelist Francisco Goldman has closely followed Los Intocables’ efforts to uncover the truth; the killing or forced exile of multiple witnesses, judges, and prosecutors; the brave struggle of the church’s legal team; and the efforts of one courageous prosecutor to solve the case and bring the killers to justice.
Goldman has spoken to witnesses no other reporter has reached, and observed firsthand some of the most crucial developments in the case. Now he has produced a tense and astonishing true detective story that opens a window on the new Latin American reality of mara
youth gangs and organized crime, and demonstrates, on the most human scale, the precarious struggle to build democratic institutions in a country awash in criminal and political corruption and violence. Most of all this is the story of a remarkable group of engaging, courageous young people, and of their remarkable fight for justice.