The Marks of Cain
By Tom Knox
OMG! I didn't (quite) read this all in one sitting. I started it on a Saturday evening and finished it on Sunday afternoon. It was a wild ride through theology, myth, science and history. The violence was too graphic for my taste, but I was reading so fast I managed get through the gory stuff (okay, I'll be honest: I skipped parts).
The pace was relentless. I had to stop periodically and do laundry, go to the grocery, make pasta salad – anything, to allow me to catch my breath.
The story is a mystery about an ancient caste of untouchables in southern France whom someone is systematically exterminating, in hideously cruel ways. The bad guys include Nazis, right-wing Catholic kooks and one really bad-ass (not to mention totally insane) Basque revolutionary. The good guys include an American lawyer, a British journalist and a girl who (conveniently) speaks Basque, Spanish and French. The characters chase the bad guys from northern Spain into France, and from there to Africa.
Was the writing stellar? Who the hell knows? I was reading too fast to care about the grammar, syntax or the rather annoying repeated vocabulary. I just wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Is this great literature? Hardly. It is, however, the kind of book a reader should NOT go on vacation without. It's guaranteed to turn a rainy holiday into a breathless, heart-stopping adventure.
Dan Brown ought to read this and get some ideas about how to write a good thriller.