Judas the Apostle by Van R. Mayhall Jr.

Judas the Apostle

KIRKUS REVIEW

A linguistics professor’s inherited relic sets an arms dealer on her trail in Mayhall’s debut religious thriller.

Dr. Clotile “Cloe” Lejeune flies to Louisiana with her son, J.E., for her father’s funeral. Once there, she learns that her dad was murdered by a professional who was apparently searching for something in his house. Cloe surmises that the murderer was looking for an African oil jar that her father left to her. Local priests believe that the jar may contain the Gospel of Judas, an ancient text which could rock the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, a mysterious, powerful man with a deep-rooted hatred for the church decides that he must have it—at any cost. The novel contains numerous discussions of religious texts, including passages that Cloe manages to translate from inside the jar. The conversations are weighty but never burdensome thanks to thriller genre conventions: a formidable villain with a penchant for taking artifacts that aren’t his; a murder, a kidnapping and a face-to-face showdown; and lots of suspense—indeed, simply opening the jar takes quite some time. The book is best when it creates an atmosphere of distrust, as when J.E. deduces that one of Cloe’s cohorts is leaking information (effectively giving the book its own Judas). Mayhall doesn’t mask the story’s religious aspects, including talk of the four Gospels and the different ways they tell the story of Judas’ betrayal. After the characters piece together new and old data, their conclusion is certainly provocative, but it’s nothing that readers might consider blasphemous. The brilliantly open ending steers clear of definitive answers but provides adequate closure.

A solid thriller with an invigorating religious theme.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1475931549
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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