When George Jackson awakens, he understands one thing: He must leave his present location. As a folded letter placed next to him states, “I know that you do not remember anything and you do not know where you are, but you must leave this place as soon as possible, because your life is in danger.” Following the instructions in the letter, George ends up on a cruise ship, where he’s supposed to meet a genetics professor named Michael Faulkner. Instead, George meets a woman named Elena, a bikini-clad, sword-wielding beauty who saves him from a shark. She explains to George that a series of bizarre events occurred the night before, and the two soon become partners in unraveling a strange mystery. “Last night the skulls of Beethoven, William Shakespeare, Nostradamus, Merce Cunningham, Blackbeard, and Michelangelo were stolen within a short period of time,” she says, and “witnesses have said that a tall old man with a long white beard…was the last person seen around the tombs of Nostradamus and Merce Cunningham before the skulls were stolen.” Meanwhile, George notices a headline that Mr. Faulkner has been murdered. What follows is a wild romp involving an orange Ferrari, a strange symbol and a variety of flashy events, not the least of which involves a space shuttle. Succeeding in pushing beyond the boundaries of a Dan Brown–style mystery adventure, George and Elena’s investigation seems to know no limits. Though dialogue tends to fall flat—as when Elena exclaims, “This damned puzzle has to be solved. I have to find out how these incidents are related. I will catch this murderer!”—the story moves quickly, and verbal exchanges tend to be brief. Readers expecting a respectable level of realism in their adventure stories may scoff at the notion that, say, one character “intended to dig an underground tunnel all the way to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum” as a means to steal a space shuttle, but readers unperturbed by such wacky initiatives will be thoroughly thrilled. A cliffhanger ending manages to be even more bizarre than the rest of the story.
Occasionally flat but often exciting.