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Marks of Cain by Tom Knox

The Marks of Cain: A NovelThe Marks of Cain by Tom Knox
Review copy provided by publisher.

PJVs QUICKIE POV:  Well my first impression is the cover and WOW very well done and expensive looking, I really liked the cover. Unfortunately, regarding the plot and writing I was bit on the fence regarding the entirety. Stuffed full of Ok characters, Ok drama and Ok plot threads, well this book was Ok.  The writing was the best part of it. Knox, which is the AKA of Sean Thomas (London area reporter), indubitably establishes himself and an excellent writer, crafting his sentences like a sculpture would make fine etches in clay, yet while his pen was well played, his plot and characters were not.

REVIEW: The Marks of Cain follow two threads, one is in the POV of David Martinez a relative orphan. He has lost his parents as a teenager and now as an adult finds himself preparing for his last family member to die, leaving him completely alone in the world. On his grandfather's deathbed, he makes David promise to follow a strange map and seek out a man in the Basque are of Spain. An odd request, but when a lawyer calls after the funeral and tells David he has 2 million dollars for him, but only if he will travel to Spain, David can't resist the mystery.

While in Spain, David blunders into more of a mystery, but practically an all out war, as he is submerged into the complex political goings-on of the Basque and the Spanish government. With a very badly handled interaction with a Basque terrorist, David is now on the run with a beautiful stranger, fighting to save both of their lives and unwrap the mystery of his grandfather's map.

The second thread follows a London crime reporter on the hunt to solve a series of bizarre murders. The MO is strange - and the deeper Simon Quinn gets into the investigation the more he starts to realize that it is so much more than simple murder.

A bizarre story, that brings in all of the latest popular mystery/thriller aspects, including a few more.  Bring in the terrorist (not the usual middle eastern variety though), add some Catholics, some DNA mysteries...instant best seller right? I really don't think so, but that is my opinion.

The problems I had with this book are as follows: David and Amy were constantly being pursued, the bad guy almost omnipotent in his tracking of them. They traveled through Spain and France and yet, aforementioned bad guy was always two seconds behind.  They were constantly getting pistol whipped, "raped", punched, kicked...and they always managed to escape.  The first time being the most unbelievable. The other times, just a bit more plausible. They also came to conclusions and I wasn't putting those conclusions together until it was explicitly explained later on. So David after something was revealed would go "Ah ha, I know what this is about." And I would go - "huh?" Until a few pages later when he would have to catch Amy up on it, but I still wouldn't understand how he came to that conclusion.  There were also a few topics that were a bit controversial. Were they controversial to boost sales or the story, you decide?

What I liked about the novel was the writing. I really liked Knox's voice and wished that the plot worked out better because than this would have been a real winner for me. Maybe mystery/thrillers aren't Knox's thing, I will most likely read more of this author's writing.

RECOMMENDATIONS:  Adult novel. This is for mature readers, there are very controversial topics within these pages, sexual, violence, cursing etc.   


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