A fast-paced adventure with a deep backdrop of religious scholarship.

THE BREATH OF GOD

A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE

In Small’s (God as the Ground of Being, 2009) theological thriller, an American grad student traveling through Bhutan uncovers a secret, ancient connection between the world’s major religions.

In a remote monastery, Grant Matthews befriends Kinley Goenpo, a wise older monk who shares his spirit of curiosity. Deep within the monastery’s library is exactly what Grant has been searching for: ancient texts purporting to show a direct link between the teachings of Hinduism and early Christianity. The two join forces with Kristin Misaki, a free-spirited traveling journalist with whom Grant quickly becomes infatuated, to try to bring the evidence to light. They’re thwarted by conservative religious leaders, both in Kinley’s Buddhist order and within the evangelical Christian community in the United States. Most threatening of all is Tim Huntley—a Christian extremist, ex-soldier and ruthless killer—who makes it his mission to ensure that the texts are destroyed along with whomever stands in his way. Soon, the enigmatic Kinley disappears with the texts in order to protect them, leaving Grant and Kristin to follow his trail across India and Bhutan, with Huntley close behind them. The novel’s themes give Small, who studied religion at Oxford, ample opportunity to explore the history and common traits of different faiths. He handles subjects like the development of the Gospels and the nature of Hindu deities without slowing down the action. The storyline offers brief lessons on various locations—the Taj Mahal, the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi and the mountaintop Taktsang monastery in the Himalayas—as they become focal points in the plot. A few moments feel a bit contrived, though, and the villains sometimes veer toward being melodramatically evil. Overall, however, the religious themes don’t come across as gimmicky, and Small seems sincerely interested in exploring the relationship between faith and fact.

A fast-paced adventure with a deep backdrop of religious scholarship.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1933512860

Page Count: 414

Publisher: West Hills Press

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE

When health care aide Bettina Holte is found drained of blood in Copenhagen’s oldest fountain, little does Investigator Jeppe Kørner know that he has a budding serial killer on his hands.

The very next day, another body is found, similarly drained. Under increasing pressure from his superintendent, Kørner quickly deduces that the murder weapon was a scarificator, a strange bloodletting device. He also learns that both victims once worked at Butterfly House, a short-lived residential home for teens with psychiatric illnesses. The home was closed after a young girl died by suicide and a social worker was found drowned. An expert at narrative sleight of hand, Engberg strews the investigational field with multiple suspects, each shadowy enough to maintain our suspicions. Perhaps Bo Ramsgaard, the teen's grieving father, is worth a closer look. Or perhaps one of the young people could hold a grudge against the staff, which included the ambitious psychiatrist Peter Demant and nurse Trine Bremen, who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Yet former patient Isak Brügger, diagnosed with schizophrenia, is still under nearly 24-hour surveillance at the Bispebjerg Hospital, as Simon Hartvig, his social worker, can attest. And former patient Marie Birch is now living in an insular countercultural community. Meanwhile, Kørner himself is conflicted about his relationship with Detective Sara Saidani: Is he ready to try again so soon after his divorce? And Kørner’s partner, Anette Werner, is on maternity leave but can’t resist getting involved as well. It’s her work that collides with Kørner’s for a dramatic final confrontation.

A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982127-60-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more