In Brooks’ (Deadly Faux, 2013, etc.) latest thriller, a widower’s unpublished apocalyptic novel may actually have prophesied the end of times.
Gabriel Stone, who recently lost his wife, is a former Catholic and no longer a believer. When he shops around his first novel, Whisper of the Seventh Thunder, he’s unprepared for the response: a literary agent sells the book and movie rights in a deal that could add millions to Gabriel’s bank account. But various (often covert) factions, including the Brethren, have intense interest in the manuscript. Gabriel’s name, it seems, was part of a hidden code in the book of Revelation translated in Israel, while one of the scenes in his book describes a bombing identical to a real-life event planned for the near future. As the day of the attack nears, Gabriel tries to keep himself alive to prevent what many believe to be the impending end of days. He may need to rely on the one thing he doesn’t have: faith. Brooks’ story is wrought with suspense, particularly the rapidly approaching bombing, which becomes synonymous with the foretold apocalypse. There’s also another name in the translated text that identifies the Antichrist, a significant detail Brooks teasingly dangles in front of readers but doesn’t reveal until the end. Characters, meanwhile, are a well-rounded, motley bunch. Some, like CIA contractor (read: assassin) McQuarrie, are unquestionably villains; a scene in which he finishes off a victim in the hospital is particularly chilling. Other characters are more delectably ambiguous. National Security Agency Special Agent Sarah Meyers, for example, certainly seems to be Gabriel’s ally, but it’s clear from the start that she’s not telling him everything she knows. Overall, Brooks’ narrative is richly textured. As Gabriel frequently finds himself in perilous situations, the conflicting goals of the diverse groups—one wants author and book completely eradicated, another believes the book will sell better if Gabriel is dead—help the plot maintain a steady pace. And just when readers think they’ve got it all sorted out, Brooks shakes things up again by having a group change its objective and deciding, perhaps, that Gabriel is better off alive.
frantic but never confusing story enhanced by its characters and tantalizing