Wonder if the 3rd time was a charm

Panoramic view of Maaloula Syria

I just finished an okay book. It was readable, I made it all the way through. It did not have me on the edge of my seat or avidly turning pages without pause, matter of fact, I was content to put the read down for a couple days. And the thought struck me that the “back cover” tease (website synopsis) was not accurate. I completely dislike back covers not being accurate, I feel cheated, betrayed, lied to.

I kept waiting for the “thriller” part of the story to come into play, the race against time and from the enemies. And I was let down like a drunk one-night-stand. So before starting this review I wanted to make sure that I had remembered that synopsis properly thus I pulled it back up….I did. It clearly states “For both couples, time is running out and enemies are closing in.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it, yeah, I thought so to, even the full title labels the book “An Archaeological Thriller”.

St. Thecla Convent, Maaloula, Syria from above.
By Heretiq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=276318

While for one couple (John Mark and Miriam) time was running out and enemies in the form of Roman soldiers were closing in, that is not the case for the other couple (Dr. Chris Jordan and Dr. Kate Ferguson). The story follows both couples in relation to a copy of The Gospel Of Mark. And is told in tandem by alternating chapters between the couples and their time periods. This was not a bad delivery style and it kept plots easy for readers to follow.

The style of the story telling was not up to a typical standard for a thriller on any level. The story was very heavy in the dialogue side, which left no time for “enemies” for Jordan and Ferguson, so it is a good thing that they didn’t have any real ones. Running from the police for 3 to 5 pages because you stole an artifact, is not running from enemies. It is the job of the police to apprehend accused thieves and investigate crimes. And they do not become enemies just because the accusers are scruple-less and greedy.

Technically, the story was properly written with one irritating flaw….the use of the metric system by John Mark during the 1st Century when it was not in use. When you are writing to such a niche audience as those that would read “An Archaeological Thriller” you really need to make sure that your details will not stop a reader in their what did I just read tracks. Most readers of any historical nature know what should and should not appear in them. Those mistakes distract greatly. And after the fact even more so, as the version of the book that I was sent is the second of 3 different publishing of the same work under similar but different titles.

2015
DEC 2021
SEP 2021

The author Joe Edd Moris has 6 publications listed on his GoodReads profile, of which 3 are some form of the book I was provided to read for an honest review. The first version was published in 2015, by West Bow Press, my copy in September of 2021, no publisher listed and finally December of 2021, by Black Rose Writing. As a disclaimer, though, my copy was received from Black Rose Writing. What isn’t listed is any of Moris’ nonfiction work such as Revival of the Gnostic Heresy: Fundamentalism, on Gnostism and Fundamentalism and their overlap. I suggest that Moris stick to nonfiction in future solo projects. His need to explain everything in dialogue and detail is not beneficial to action/thriller works, it’s actually the exact opposite impact on the reader. Pointing out this trait is not an insult to the author, just my explanation for what distracted me from thoroughly enjoying his work. I possess the same trait. That said, he might make a great authenticator for other story tellers to make sure their stories are not dismissed on bad research. Or at least stay away from thrillers.

*Copy Received For Review.

**Cover via Amazon.com

***Featured Image: By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10326035

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