Alice Fisher/Sister Jacobine has become one of my favorite characters to write/spend time with.

In 2020, a writer friend of mine put out a call for submissions for an anthology he was putting together titled Nuns with Guns.

That idea immediately intrigued me, and I started thinking about reasons a nun would pick up a gun and shoot someone. I thought of all the obvious ones – to save their own life or someone else’s, when it was the lesser of two evils or in the service of the greater good.

I immediately discarded all of those because, y’know, everyone’s going to come up with those. No sense writing the same story as everyone else. So, I started brainstorming. Anything that occurred to me, I scribbled down, no matter how outlandish it was.

When I hit on her being the Pope’s hitwoman, it was like the first domino in a long row had fallen and the rest all fell into place very quickly. This is also where research comes into the process.

I am not religious in any way. So, I started reading about what Catholics believe and narrowed my reading to the soul and the Ten Commandments pretty quickly.

Why would the Pope need a hitwoman? To deal with priests, bishops, and cardinals that “stepped out of line” or “cast the church in a bad light”.

That left me with only one question: How could a nun justify the sin of killing someone? In answer to that question, I present to you The Book of Jacobine: Omnibus Edition. It contains all six Nun With A Gun stories. I hope you enjoy it.

Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find inside, from the first story: Feet of Clay:


EXCERPT

The stillness in the sitting room would have been eerie had Alice not sat waiting to kill a man countless times before.

What would he have done differently if he had known today was his last day on earth?

A car pulled up to the curb in front of the brownstone. The headlights shut off and the lone occupant stepped out.

Her left hand moved from the arm of the chair to the butt of the 10mm Tanfoglio Force resting in her lap. The suppressor screwed to the end of the barrel would help the neighbors presume someone had merely slammed a door.

McGinty strode up the walkway to the front door.

Alice could barely think of him as Bishop McGinty, now. His continued dalliances with pre-teen members of congregations in the archdiocese had left His Holiness no alternative.

She remained still. Any movement might attract his attention. He stepped inside, flicked on the foyer light and shut and locked the door.

He turned from the door, took one step into the sitting room, and froze.

She leveled the Tanfoglio at him. “Bishop McGinty.” The title emerged like a swear word.

His gaze swept over her and paused on the black veil with the white band. He swallowed, his jaw sagged, and he licked his lips.

The weakest ones always wept and begged for their lives. Some would try to bargain their way out of trouble. A very few waited defiantly, their false bravado doing them as little good as begging or bargaining.

McGinty surprised her. She could see acceptance on his face, and fear. He knew exactly why she was here and the uselessness of trying to avoid his fate.

She gestured with the Tanfoglio. “I bring you greetings from His Holiness.”

A wet spot appeared on the front of his pants.

Now, it would start. It would also end. She was not in the mood.

He took a hesitant step forward and she squeezed the trigger. The Tanfoglio bucked in her hand, giving off a loud pop despite the suppressor. A 10mm spot of red appeared in the center of McGinty’s forehead.

The back of his skull and half his brain splattered across the wall behind him.

She slid the Tanfoglio into her tan Gucci handbag. She used the bag just for these occasions. It had always done its part.

She rose and knelt beside the body. With the thumb of her right hand she drew a cross on his forehead in blood, the bullet hole at the center.

She bowed her head. “Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, we pray for your servant, McGinty, and commend him to your mercy. For his sake you came down from heaven; receive him now into the joy of your kingdom. For though he has sinned, he has not denied the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but has believed in God and has worshipped his Creator. Amen.”

She was glad the requirement of wearing a habit had been done away with years ago. Although she did prefer to wear the traditional black veil with white banding, the long and flowing robes always snagged on the barrel of the gun and the blood stained them. Knives and short broadswords had also been a problem. The habit had often ended up torn, in addition to bloody.

The grey Armani tweed suit she had chosen to wear tonight would not get in the way. Just to be safe, she had worn the suit pants rather than the pencil skirt. Along with the sensible, low-heeled shoes, better for her if she had any chasing or running to do. Although, chasing a target down and shooting them in the street was problematic, no matter the outfit.

She stood, adjusted the lay of the veil across her shoulders, picked up her Gucci bag and stepped out into the night, locking the door behind her.


This Omnibus Edition collects the six Nun With A Gun stories into a single volume, The Book of Jacobine.

The Pope calls Alice Fisher—Sister Jacobine—his giusta mano destra or “righteous right hand.” At his behest, she deals with those who step outside of the Church’s doctrines and, through their actions, dishonor His Holiness. Alice’s unique skillset and God-given gifts make her particularly well-suited as the Pope’s enforcer.

Powerful forces inside the Church target Sister Jacobine, to weaken His Holiness’ preeminence and further their own dark agenda. Alice must use her considerable skills and resources to safeguard those closest to her, including His Holiness himself.

When a Vatican hit squad targets her, Alice turns to the only person she can count on for help—the Philadelphia Police Detective who arrested her for murder.

Feet of Clay, the first Jacobine story, was released as a standalone short on September 1, 2020. Due to reader demand, the rest of the stories were released over the next six weeks.

A Nun With A Gun is a series of short stories and novelettes about Sister Jacobine, the Pope’s hitwoman. They are best read in order.

1.0 Feet of Clay
2.0 A Port in the Storm
3.0 Excommunication
4.0 Requiem Mass
5.0 Den of Lions
6.0 The Narrow Gate

Thriller Short Story Omnibus

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Enjoy,

Mark