Author: Dale Allan
Publisher: Emerald Book Company, Greenleaf Book Group
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN 10: 1937110346
ISBN 13: 9781937110345
The Book Depository / Amazon
Twin brothers Luke and Aaron Miller could not lead more different lives. Aaron, a rising political star who manages the campaign of a man many believe will be the nation’s next president, embraced his father’s Jewish heritage. Luke, on the other hand, honored his mother’s faith and entered the Catholic priesthood. When Aaron and the candidate he supports are killed in a bombing at a presidential stump speech, the Miller family’s core is destroyed. Fear of a terrorist threat grips the nation, but the FBI and the press seem more focused on the death of a presidential candidate than on the other innocent victims like Aaron. Suddenly, Luke begins to feel the lure of a vengeance that is stronger than the bond of faith.
As he falls deeper into the abyss of political intrigue that surrounded his brother’s mysterious professional life, Luke is tempted to break his promise to God and reassess his own sense of right and wrong. What sort of priest carries a concealed weapon? How can he judge others when he himself has strayed so far from his own flock?
Luke’s comfortable life in Boston collides with the faraway world of the Middle East as he sets out on a journey to unravel the truth behind Aaron’s murder. Will he take an eye for an eye?
In this murder mystery wrapped in a thoughtful meditation on the intersection of faith and justice, Luke’s journey through his own darkness propels him to a shocking ending that will leave readers breathless.
Luke Miller is a Catholic priest who was raised Jewish and disowned by his father when he gave up a UMASS scholarship for the seminary. His identical twin brother Aaron is high on the political scene, working as a campaign manager for Brad Thompson, a serious presidential candidate.
Luke's world is knocked off its foundation when Aaron is killed in an explosion that also takes the life of Brad Thompson and his wife. The two brothers, who had stopped speaking to each other the year before over a development deal, will now never have the chance to reconcile.
With the investigation focused on the now-dead candidate, Luke finds himself drawn into the mystery of the explosion. Was it the mob? Was it a terrorist attack? With an unlikely allies such as a homeless couple and a Muslim woman, Luke sets out on a journey that takes him as far as Riyadh to find the truth.
This is a well-turned mystery - one that does keep the reader guessing, as there are some twists and unlikely turns. I did enjoy it, despite some quibbles that I had with it. One quibble - the portrayal of Muslims and the not-so-subliminal messages that Islam is basically evil. Another quibble (along the same lines) - the mislabeling of Sharia law as derived from two primary sources of Islamic law - Sharia law is actually a man-made deliberate misinterpretation of the Quran, twisted to fit the purposes of those who took it upon themselves to interpret it thus. I feel that we shouldn't be so quick to point fingers at other religions. As a Christian, I'm well aware of the bloody history of most major religions, including my own. ANY religion or religious text can be twisted out of context to justify many injustices; that doesn't make the base of the religion murderous or evil. MAN is responsible for those injustices - not the Bible or the Quran.
So ... off my soapbox there :)
There were also some points during the reading where the writing felt a bit awkward and stiff, but only here and there. As the mystery began to wrap up, I was drawn in enough to have a very uneasy feeling about it all and there was a scene or two that made me extremely sad.
All in all, if you like a good, clean mystery that still has enough bite to keep its edge, this would make a good choice.
QUOTE (from a galley; may be different in the final copy):
He nodded as she reached up and removed the white linen Roman collar from his shirt while pulling him down to place a black kippah on his head. "Luke, just for today, don't be a Catholic, be a Jew."
Writing: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 3.5 out of 5 starsReading Immersion: 3.5 out 5 stars
BOOK RATING: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary eGalley of this title from the publisher through Netgalley to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.