Friday Reads – The Vatican Conspiracy by Peter Hogenkamp

I’m delighted to welcome Peter Hogenkamp to my blog today to talk about his novel, The Vatican Conspiracy, and the author who inspired him to become a writer.


When Marco Venetti left the military, he thought his days of violence were behind him. But then beautiful Elena comes to him, begging for his help. Her daughter has been kidnapped to force her to smuggle a gang of killers into the country. If she disobeys, her family will die.

Determined to protect her, Marco goes on the hunt. But after a terrifying battle on a rocky island off the Italian coast, he finds a map on one of the men’s bodies that reveals their ultimate goal: a deadly terrorist attack on the Vatican City itself.

Marco and Elena race to prevent a bloodbath in the heart of Rome, but the terrorists are more dangerous than they knew. A nuclear weapon is missing, and the CIA, Russians and Israelis are too busy fighting amongst themselves to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

The only person Marco can trust is himself. He must track down and kill his enemy… but the Vatican is home to many secrets, and soon Marco realises that behind the nuclear plot lies another, darker conspiracy. Can he uncover the traitor before time runs out?

For fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Tom Clancy and Steven Konkoly, The Vatican Conspiracy is a non-stop explosive thriller of betrayal, revenge and world-shaking conspiracy.

Buy Links

The Vatican Secret

The Vatican Secret AudioBook

The Intern

Inspired by Alistair MacLean

When people ask me who it was that first inspired me to be a writer, I think back to the weekend fifty years ago when I was forced to go along with my parents on a trip to Cape Cod to visit the Graltons. The weekend started well enough, I suppose, with a nice walk on the beach, but then it devolved into a lot of sitting around and catching up, and nothing could be less to the liking of a ten-year-old boy. To get me to stop bothering them, Mrs. Gralton handed me a battered paperback; with nothing else to do, I sat down and cracked open MacLean’s Fear is the Key.

And that was that. In ten minute’s time, my life as a normal kid was over. I didn’t bug my parents, I didn’t play outside, I didn’t even demand food, and had to, as I recollect it, be dragged to the dinner table. If you are wondering what caused the attitude change, I would guess that you have never read a Maclean book, or watched one of the movies made from his writings. And if you want to know what it is about his writing that could cause such a transformation, I would point to his larger-than-life heroes, his dry wit, and his ability to inject romance into even the tautest plot.

MacLean knew how to create heroes, which he did by inserting brave young men into impossible situations, into which they went with the full knowledge of certain failure and imminent demise. And not only did they go, they went with the kind of nonchalance that appealed to a ten-year-old boy (and a lot of other people as well.) When I finished Fear is the Key (I still have the book, it sits on the top shelf of a bookcase with all thirty-one Alistair MacLean books) the next week, I walked to our local library and went looking for more. The librarian directed me to the children’s section, but I made a bee-line to the fiction shelves, discovering hard copies of The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare (which have been made into blockbuster movies.) I read them both in a week. Three years later, at the age of thirteen, I wrote my first novel, or I began my first novel anyway, because I abandoned the effort after one hundred pages. But that didn’t matter in the end, because on a Saturday night twenty-five years later, after my wife and children had gone to bed, I found an old notebook and started writing the story that later became The Vatican Conspiracy. It wasn’t a story MacLean would have penned, but I would like to think there is a small vestige of him inside. I would also like to think that The Vatican Conspiracy will inspire a young person somewhere in the world to pick up the pen, and thus pay forward my debt to MacLean.

I’ve read The Vatican Conspiracy, it’s a gripping, fast-paced story. You can read my review on Goodreads here.

Meet Peter

Author bio

Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author of medical fiction and thrillers living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter’s writing credits include The Intern (TouchPoint Press, April 2020); The Vatican Conspiracy book and audiobook (Bookouture/HachetteUK, October 2020), The Vatican Secret (Bookouture/HachetteUK, April 2021), The Vatican Secret audiobook (Saga Egmont, March 2022) and Cospirazione Vaticano (Newton Compton Editori 7/2021.) The Woman from Death Row, book one of the new Jade Stryker thriller series, will be published Spring 2023 by Tirgearr Publishing.

Peter can be found on his Author Website, as well as his personal blog, Peter Hogenkamp Writes, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the creator, producer and host of Your Health Matters, a health information program, which airs on cable television and streams on YouTube. Peter was a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Killer Nashville Claymore Award as well as the 2020 Vermont Writer’s Prize.

He tweets—against the wishes of his wife, four children and feisty Cairn Terrier, Hermione—on Twitter.

He can be reached at his FaceBook Page and at

Peter Hogenkamp Author Website

The Vatican Conspiracy

Thanks for dropping by to talk to us today, Peter. Wishing you lots of writing success.

Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
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