Beach Read Quick Shot: Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

The Blood Gospel
The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell William-Morrow, 2013

I’m pretty sure I pulled this off a list at the HWA website (it’s down at the moment so I can’t check right now) The Blood Gospel is a supernatural tinged thriller from NYT bestelling author James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (an up and coming author best known for her Hannah Vogel noir series). It should be warned that this book leans heavily on Biblical knowledge and some previous knowledge of Catholicism; particularly the belief in transubstantiation. The novel opens with a flashback to the siege of Masada (around 73 CE) delving straight into the novel’s more fantastic elements with a scene straight out of The Exorcist (though not nearly as terrifying). Fast forward several thousand years to present day when an earthquake in Masada reveals a strange tomb. The sudden appearance of the tomb brings together the novel’s three heroes the mysterious priest Father Rhun Korza, the smart archaeologist Dr. Erin Granger (she escaped from a radical Christian sect in her youth and holds tight to her skepticism about all things religious as a result), and the brave Sergeant Jordan Stone (who works in military forensics).

What unfolds of over the course of the novel is a historical mystery and globe-trotting adventure full of strange and horrific creatures. The Blood Gospel isn’t a heavy read by any means, this is a light, action packed thriller with a strong thread of the supernatural horror running throughout. I’d hesitate to call this a horror novel though as the novel’s primary focus isn’t fear but action. The Blood Gospel as about as much horror as The Underworld series of films is. By and large The Blood Gospel is a taught novel tuned to catapult you through the plot. The novel’s only major stumbling block involves a young man who survives the opening earthquake, though with some rather strange side effects. This plot thread isn’t wholly developed here and doesn’t really offer any major benefit to the novel. The Blood Gospel is the first in a series and I have no doubt we’ll get deeper into this part of the story but it just felt a little out of place here. While the characters aren’t wholly original and fall into specific archetypes (amusingly enough this is touched upon in the plot) the author’s still manage to infuse them with a sense of individuality that leads to at least the beginnings of emotional attachment. For fans of action and the supernatural The Blood Gospel is a must-read.

I’ve been pretty cagey about the supernatural elements of The Blood Gospel. The last bit below the jump might spoil that some so read on if you don’t really care.

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Review: The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

The Demonologist
Andrew Pyper
Simon and Schuster, 2013

Andrew Pyper’s The Demonologist is one of the books that I really hoped I would love. A supernatural thriller/horror novel  targeted a general audiences its press material initially put me off due to its comparisons with The Historian a novel whose nostalgia drenched narrative felt more like a travelogue than a horror novel. Pyper’s novel never comes even close to a similar level of eye rolling nostalgia and manages to tell a passably good story along the way. The story of The Demonologist centers around Milton and Paradise Lost expert Professer David Ullman whose unique knowledge of Milton’s most famous work made him famous and seen him consult on some rather fascinating cases in the past. A mysterious offer to visit Italy offers Dr. Ullman and his daughter a chance to escape his impending divorce and offer them a chance to bond. Ullman’s experience in Italy tests the bounds of his skepticism and the seeming suicide of his daughter sends him on a quest to rescue her from the clutches of beings who Ullman has spent his life believing don’t exist.

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Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood
Kendare Blake
Tor Teen, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blooddrew my eye with its evocative title and subtle cover. Its jacket description reminded me in many ways of the CW’s long running Supernatural; in my opinion one of the more entertaining genre shows on television. The story centers on Cas Lockwood and teen who inherited his father’s athame and his father’s profession: hunting and killing ghosts. Along with his mother, a white witch, Cas sets out to investigate the myth of the titular Anna partly as a training mission to take on the ghost that murdered his father.

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