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The search for the 30 magical silver coins Judas received for betraying Jesus drives a thriller with Dan Brown aspirations.

Teens die imitating a perverted reality show. A U.S. senator expires on a diving trip after a fishy anti-vaccine vote in Congress, and bad guys move in to kidnap his pretty young wife. A pregnant woman is imprisoned and abused by a sadistic doctor at an evil institute. Who you gonna call? Jack Logan (not Jack Ryan, but close), investigative journalist–turned–action hero, who fortunately has taken an evasive driving class and done a stint undercover as a bodyguard in Colombia. Logan is the creation of Shaw, a pseudonym of Lynne Constantine, who, together with her sister, writes under the name Liv Constantine (The Last Time I Saw You, 2019, etc.); since the cover proclaims this “A Jack Logan Thriller,” it's apparently the first of a series. If Tom Clancy inspired the character’s moniker, Dan Brown is the model for many other elements, down to the wooden writing and laughable, expository dialogue. “I mean, exploiting vulnerable teenagers for ratings with no regard to the consequences. It’s unconscionable.” “The same Saint John who wrote the Gospel?” Maybe you have to read it in context to get the joke; do so at your own risk. While Brown often uses Christian mysticism and iconography as plot elements, Shaw’s story makes faith itself central. The good guys are saved, and the bad guys represent Satan; they need those silver coins back to support their various evil plans. “What does increasing the abortion rate do for your cause?” one character asks another. “There’s nothing more precious in the eyes of God than new life. Anything I can do to destroy those lives, I’ll do. If I can prevent the birth of just one true believer who might shape the world in a better direction, I’ll have done well.”

A Christian fable with a right-wing agenda lurks beneath the surface of this action/adventure debut.

Pub Date: Dec. 17th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-295090-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019