TU alumnus interviews real-world assassins for novel - The University of Tulsa
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TU alumnus interviews real-world assassins for novel

William J. Carl
William J. Carl

William J. Carl (BA ’70) is a Greek scholar and former pastor and even served as U.S. Senate guest chaplain. He authored eight successful nonfiction books about religion and traveled the world lecturing at prestigious schools. Now, he has added writing an international espionage thriller to his list accomplishments.

Carl’s book, “Assassin’s Manuscript,” follows former CIA assassin Adam Hunter as he attempts to leave behind espionage and murder for a career as a minister. However, he is soon pulled back into that world to crack a code hidden in an ancient manuscript to foil a terrorist plot. Meanwhile, a small-town lawyer, Renie Ellis, gets caught up in Hunter’s world and falls in love with him without realizing he killed her fiancé in an accident.

Readers have praised Carl’s incredible attention to detail. As the characters race against the clock to prevent disaster, they travel from Rome to Jerusalem, Mount Sinai in Egypt and the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Carl traveled to all seven countries featured in the book, conducting research and observing the people to make the novel as realistic as possible.

Assassin’s Manuscript bookcover

This dedication to realism extends to the psyche of his main character. To accomplish this, Carl interviewed several “retired” assassins.

“The interviews I did were chilling, revealing, and helped me get inside the mind, heart, and soul of my main character,” said Carl. “I learned about one assassin from his son (a philosophy professor at a small college) who said his father revealed on his deathbed what he’d done on all those trips overseas. He said, ‘I was shocked. He was a regular Little League dad in the neighborhood who never appeared to be a violent person.’” Carl’s interviews helped him garner the insight needed to write Hunter.

Carl graduated with a bachelor’s degree from The University of Tulsa’s Department of Philosophy & Religion in 1970, when he was also named Man of the Year. He went on to receive a master of divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and a doctorate in rhetoric and communication from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to his books, Carl has written 75 articles and reviews, and his screenplay, “Maggie’s Perfect Match,” won the Telluride Indiefest Screenwriting Contest.

“Assassin’s Manuscript” is now available to check out at TU’s McFarlin Library.