The Third Pitch by Robert Allen Stowe is a story that is as powerful as it is intriguing. Charles Franklin has received a handsome payment to retrieve an important package, the contents of which are unknown to him. Part of the instructions for the task is to meet someone who knows how to identify him, but Charles has no way of identifying this person. It all sounds illegal. It could be drugs, it could be stolen stuff, or it could even be radioactive. The client? An esteemed Church Cardinal. Charles is wondering what this man of God is trying to acquire and why he is willing to risk it, as the Vatican has ways of dealing with those who violate Canonical Law. As Charles inches his way closer to the truth, he will discover that there are forces who are interested in what he needs to retrieve. The Third Pitch gives you the kind of thrill that you get in reading Robert Ludlum or Frederick Forsyth. Here we have characters that are well-drawn, especially the main protagonist, and their actions based on their motivations enable you to understand them instead of instantly loving or hating them. Robert Allen Stowe has written a first-rate novel because it doesn’t stop at the thrills and intrigue. It also pays attention to plotting and characterization and demonstrates Stowe’s skills as a storyteller. He not only paints characters–he sculpts personalities. I can think of no better setting than the Vatican, as outsiders have always viewed this institution as mysterious and sacrosanct. This is an intriguing tale that will appeal to fans of thrillers and mysteries.