This is definitely a poolside read, or in the case of our Texas”winter” when poolside is a not-so-distant-but-still-not-here concept, a bathtub book. It is quick and easy, and a little below my intelligence level (pardon my elitism).
James Becker is apparently an aspiring Dan Brown. The book is another conspiracy novel in which the Vatican is hiding a massive, powerful, world-view-altering secret from the unsuspecting masses. The implication is that this secret will shake the very foundation of Christianity right out from under the believers’ feet. Though still irritating, I no longer find this type of novel offensive.
The novel opens with the unintentional murder of a British housewife, living alone in a mansion in Italy while her husband travels for business. The murderers have broken into her house to investigate a Latin inscription her builders uncovered during renovations to the house. After her death is ruled accidental by Italian police, her husband and his friend, a police officer named Bronson, follow the trail of clues missed by the Italian police which indicate that Jackie’s death did involve foul play. This trail leads them to repeated encounters with the Italian mafia, across European borders, and deep into the hills and caves surrounding Rome in pursuit of this “earth-shaking” secret.
The plot sounds exciting, and it is a good quick read. Unfortunately the novel is a bit too predictable and cliche, making it difficult to enjoy fully. There was never anything truly absorbing about it. The characters were not deep enough for me to care about. Nor was the plot at all believable. Every solution to every problem was a bit too convenient and far fetched, which did nothing to encourage the suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader.
Other than that, there isn’t too much to say on the book. If anyone does want to read it, I would hate to give any of the “twists” away, though the reader will likely be able to guess them for themselves. As I close, I must apologize for the selection of books I’ve made this year, and for my slow reading. Not many of my reviews have been encouraging. I’m in the process of reading a best seller right now, and I’m really hoping that I will be able to give you some shining praise for it, so as to inspire you to rush out and pick it up!