I read Christer’s first novel, The Stonehenge Legacy and liked it. When the opportunity to review his second book fell in my lap, I took it. I was in the mood for a thriller and already being familiar with this author, I knew this would be a good match.
Tom Shaman is an ex-priest from Los Angeles trying to escape his former life and anyone who knew him. A few months before, while still a priest, he happened upon an assault and intervened to stop a woman from being raped. While fighting off the attackers, he accidentally killed one of the men. Cleared of the crime, but unable to let his conscience rest, he decides to trade California for Italy and his life of a priest for that of a layman. Upon arriving in watery Venice, he finds himself drawn into the case of a murdered girl and what seems to be a devil worshiping cult that is planning an attack with world-wide ramifications. Throw in a pseudo-romance and a kidnapping, and Tom isn’t getting the escape from life he was hoping for in Italy.
There are several stories and timelines taking place in The Venice Conspiracy — the present following the ex-priest Tom, a 666 BC timeline featuring a netvis (an ancient priest of sorts) who may have inadvertently created the demon now known as Satan, and a 1778 timeframe concerning the theft of a little known but very valuable sculpture. This might sound confusing, but each specific time plays out without hindering the others. I was interested in seeing how each story would work out but I found the 666 BC timeframe the most interesting. It was set in what would be considered Etruia, a part of ancient Italy that is considered the home of Etruscan civilization. I’m always fascinated by this time period, and for me, this timeline held the most interest which of course means I would have liked more about these characters.
I should also say this — as I often do with thrillers — forget reality and roll with it. Tom’s an ex-priest who ends up investigating what look like ritual murders with the Italian police force shortly after arriving in the city and being found at the scene of the first murder. I don’t mean this to sound critical but this police force really moves fast. If you’ve ever been to Italy, you know nothing moves fast. I just felt wrong considering the police wanted to lock him up shortly before employing him. It’s hard to buy, but, ignore that. Go with it and you won’t be disappointed. You see, this is one of those stories that builds; each new character and timeframe adding something new, each story within a story advancing things along. Honestly, that’s what I want a thriller to do. I want it to move, and move fast. The Venice Conspiracy does just that.
If you’re looking for a book that will keep you up reading, give this one a try.
The publisher sent me a copy of The Venice Conspiracy for review.
The Venice Conspiracy
By Sam Christer