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

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Britain teeters on the brink of scandal and war in this charming combination of history and mystery.

GOD REST YE, ROYAL GENTLEMEN

Christmas 1935 finds murder stalking the British royal family.

Lady Georgiana Rannoch is settling into married life with dashing Darcy O’Mara, who for once isn’t off on some secret government mission. When the house party she’s planned falls apart because almost no one she’s invited can come, she accepts an invitation of her own. Darcy’s eccentric aunt Ermintrude asks the newlyweds to Wymondham Hall, on the edge of the royal Sandringham estate, and hints that Queen Mary especially wants Georgiana to come. There are enough rooms on offer to allow the inclusion of Georgie’s brother, Binky, the Duke of Rannoch, his annoying wife, Fig, their children, and Georgie’s mother, the dowager Duchess, who’s suddenly arrived from Germany. Georgie even brings along Queenie, her cook, who has a reputation for causing problems. The biggest surprise is the arrival of Wallis Simpson, whom Georgie’s cousin David, the Prince of Wales, wants close by his side while he visits his ailing father. The British press has been keeping Mrs. Simpson, who’s about to divorce her husband, a secret from the public, but the scandal she’s caused is well known among the aristocracy. David is almost shot during a hunt; Mrs. Simpson is knocked out; and Georgie’s ride with the prince’s friend results in his death. Are these all accidents or cleverly concealed murder attempts? Queen Mary asks Georgie, who has a track record of successful sleuthing, to discover the truth.

Britain teeters on the brink of scandal and war in this charming combination of history and mystery.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-440000-08-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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