Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The Patmos Deception
When I saw his latest release, The Patmos Deception, I requested it right away.
Carey Mathers arrives in Greece only to meet disaster. Promised a job with the Athens Institute of Antiquities, she finds the gates locked and the institute closed up. Greece economy has tanked, and her dreams of further studies in forensic archaeology seem to have taken a detour. Her grandparents want her to come home, but Carey stays on when old friend and Texas journalist Nick Hennessey tells her he's investigating a huge story and needs her expertise. Ancient Grecian artifacts are being stolen, randomly, with nothing to explain who is taking them or why. Nick's boss, Phyllis Karris, is involved in Parisian UN operations, and thinks someone higher up is orchestrating the thefts.
Carey and Nick go to the island of Patmos, where a Greek fisherman named Dimitri and a big Scotsman named Duncan McAllister may have the answers they're looking for.
Unfortunately, there's not much to say about this book. Bunn's former hero, Marc Royce, was a complex introvert, and you could tell whenever he opened his mouth there were a dozen things he was thinking. Nick Hennesey was a shallow journalist looking for a cash break. Even Carey, with glimpses of creativity (how can a male author describe a ponytail so well?) never broke beyond the cookie-cutter heroine. A good deal of the plot time was taken up with past crushes gone wrong. That's cliche and boring, and we weren't given enough reason to care about Nick and Carey before their love triangles were brought up. The Christianity was tacked on, and for someone who is very familiar with biblical history, irritating for its shallowness. Even the suspense had the feel of leftovers rather than something new.
There were a couple of things I did like; had the whole story been about the Greek family who befriended Carey, it would have had much more punch, humor, life, and interest. They were funny and loving and friendly, and I enjoyed them. But they drifted away from the plot and only had brief cameos as the story went on. Also, kudos on the wrap-up of the love-triangle plot. Without spoilers, I will say the most satisfying moment of the book came from the ambiguous resolution of Carey Mather's choice of fiance. One of Bunn's trademarks with romance is his ambiguous conclusions, and the more you read them, the more they work.
Beyond that, I'll stick to the Lion of Babylon series. Characters took action. Made phone calls. Had conversations about things besides love. Altogether much less cliche in a current-events plotline.
I look up Davis Bunn now and again because I like a story about current events. A lot of excellent modern authors write historical fiction, and those who don't write historical tend to stick to fantasy or dystopian. I haven't found many (yet) that write out-of-the-park books about modern day events, but I'm still on the lookout. It's a gap that needs to be filled in the literary world.
Davis Bunn is launching a new name, Thomas Locke, and delving into the fantasy genre with secular publishing. It's giving him an opportunity to write a more subtly influenced Christian fantasy story. If a copy of his new books ever comes my way, I'll be interested to compare them to what I've read of his so far.
*This book was given to me for free by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
Come back Christmas Eve for a very special War of Loyalties character interview! :) And don't forget Friday, when we'll be hosting the last book review for 2014!