SIGN OF THE CROSS by CHRIS KUZNESKI.
A Vatican priest is found murdered on the shores of Denmark - nailed to a cross in the shadow of Hamlet's castle. He is the first victim in a vicious killing spree that spans the world. Each horrific murder exactly mirrors the crucifixion of Christ ....
Meanwhile, deep in the Roman catacombs of Orvieto, an archaeologist uncovers an ancient scroll dating back two thousand years. The scroll, he knows, holds the key to a dark and treacherous secret that will rock the very foundations of the Church. But only if he can decipher its lost meanings - and only if he can live long enough to reveal them.
.... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Erik Jansen was about to die.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 97): Then came the Greeks and their notion of Zeus. The Incas had Viracocha. The Mayans had Hunab Ku. The Vikings had Odin and the great hall of Valhalla. Each of these deities were revered for centuries by legions of devoted followers, yet today they're viewed by society as antiquated notions from our uncivilized forefathers.
MY THOUGHTS: Though hardly an original story if you like religious conspiracy theories and can get past the fact that at times this feels all a bit like Scooby Doo then you may well enjoy this offering ....... at least for a while. I know I did.
Starting off so well, sadly Sign Of The Cross went slowly down hill until far from finding it difficult to put it down as in the beginning I found myself finding it a chore to read, the stereotypical characters more and more irritating, the lack of research increasingly annoying - Dover University, the third most prestigious in England? Really?
At just over 600 pages this was ultimately far too long ..... about 400 pages too long. Instead of concentrating on one aspect of the story there were several elements (the archaeological/Boyd and Pelati aspect and the crime/Dial/Payne and Jones aspect) all competing for our interest which in this instance, perhaps because of the author's inability to maintain reader enthusiasm, just didn't work. I also felt that thoughts of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code (and a possible movie deal) were never far from Mr Kuzneski's mind such was the similar feel to the novel .... a male archaeologist, an attractive female sidekick, an ancient scroll that had the potential to rock the Christian world, gruesome murders - they were all here.
Not an altogether bad read, I've certainly read a lot worse, I think I found this more disappointing than anything else.
Keep It Or Not?: A charity shop buy. Not a keeper I'm afraid.