Tag Archives: twists and turns

Review: 30 Pieces of Silver by Carolyn McCray

2 Stars

I will admit that I was sucked in by the comparisons to Dan Brown.  While I’m not a huge fan of his work, I am interested in the subject matter.  For over two thousand years, scientists and researchers have been trying to prove or disprove the existence of Jesus Christ and the mystery of the crucifixion and resurrection.  So when I read the description for this book, I knew I had to pick it up.  Especially when the description comes with a huge warning label calling the book “an extremely controversial religious/historical thriller.”  Come on, who can resist bait like that?  Obviously not me.

Rebecca Monroe is working on a theory that there is a “genius” gene caused by good radiation that can explain away God and other theories of creation.  She’s pulled away from her research by a Special Ops team that has been sent to bring her in after a bombing in Paris brings her old professor out of hiding (back from the dead?) for the discovery of a lifetime and one that could rock the foundations of Christianity.

From there, we’re off on a wild chase across continents while Rebecca and the team are ambushed, shot at, bombed, electrocuted, chased and put through one unbelievable scenario after another as they go from one clue to the next.  The clues are left on ancient bones inscribed in ancient Greek.  Bones that are believed to have belonged to some of Christianity’s most sacred people.  John the Baptist.  James, brother of Jesus.  Mary Magdalene.  All seem to be pointing to the final resting place of Christ.  Not only that, but the bones are telling a different story about the Crucifixion than the one that the Bible has been telling the faithful for over two thousand years.  As they are trying to uncover the secrets the bones are trying to tell them, they are being hunted down by The Knot.  The Knot is trying to keep these secrets safe because if the truth ever got out, it has the power to destroy everything.

I really, really wanted to like this book.  But I just couldn’t.  Too much of it was so far-fetched that it was almost laugh out loud ludicrous.  Most of the characters were just completely unlikable and there was just very little authenticity in 90% of the characters and their interactions.  I can totally two opposing forces fighting for power and having lots of intense action scenes, but the fights should be believable and make some logical sense.  Can you see a person jumping from a boat travelling at 100 miles per hour onto a bridge and suffering absolutely NO injuries?  Especially a professor with absolutely NO training?

And the contrived romance angle?  Give me a break.

The stars were solely for the twist near the end.  If you’re a quick study, you’ll actually figure it out well before Rebecca does and for a Christian, it’s definitely what most would call sacrilegious.  The best passages of the book were the looks back into history and how the author imagined the interaction between Jesus and his followers.  The rest of the time you’re jumping from one absolutely unbelievable situation to the next.  Since this is a work of fiction, and not a very good one, it shouldn’t rock your faith too much.  I think this would have less impact than even the Dan Brown books.



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Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

4 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this as an ARC.  The review reflects my own views and were in no way influenced by receiving an ARC.

Alex Dale is a broken woman.  A freelance writer who had it all and lost it.  She used to be at the top of her game with a weekly column, a husband and a good life.  Then she drowned it all, bottle after bottle.  Now she’s just going through the motions, barely surviving one night to the next.  She’s slowly working on a medical piece.  At the hospital, she sees Amy Stevenson.

Amy had been abducted and left for dead 15 years ago and since she’s been locked in a vegetative state, unable to bear witness to who attacked her and left her for dead.  Alex becomes more and more curious about what happened to Amy.  She begins to change the focus of her story from medical breakthroughs to what happened to Amy Stevenson.  Alex goes from washed up writer to investigative journalist.  She begins to slowly unravel the threads that make up Amy’s story and works tirelessly to bring her story to light and bring her attacker to justice.

The story changes perspective and changes from past to present throughout.  But the viewpoints are all seamless and mesh together in a way that doesn’t make the time shifts jarring, but they seem more like a natural progression.  Each character has a clear voice and you get a very clear picture of who they are and the events that made them the way they are today.

You don’t want to like Alex Dale.  She’s a very flawed character who does very little in the beginning to earn your empathy or sympathy.  You just want to take her by the shoulders and shake her until she comes to her senses.  As the story grows, so too does Alex.  In giving Amy a voice, she’s also giving herself a voice and a way to find the strength to save herself…from herself.

If you are looking for a good story with lots of twists and turns…definitely pick up Try Not to Breathe.

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