Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Marks of Cain" by Tom Knox, reviewed by @mrneil98

The Marks of Cain by Tom Knox
reviewed by @mrneil98

A dying request made by a destitute old man to his grandson consists of a map of the Basque Mountains in France, the name of a contact and two millions dollars if the request is carried out. This begins the adventure of lawyer David Martinez that will take him on a journey from Arizona to France and finally Africa unraveling a mystery entailing a lost tribe of pre-Caucasian people, Nazi experimentation and religious persecution ultimately revealing the secrets behind is parents death. Wow!

Then there is the parallel story of recovering alcoholic British journalist Simon Quinn investigating three grisly murders of elderly wealthy people who all were originally from the Basque region and all the victims seem to have some minor mutations. Double Wow!!

I’ve read a dozen books this summer and several have stood out but none have been as intelligent and thought provoking while delivering in the thrills department as well. While reading the last two thirds of the book I was constantly referring to an atlas or encyclopedia, following the travels of David and Simon and researching their discoveries along the way. I love books that stimulate the mind as well as increasing the heart rate with death defying chases and escapes.

Tom Knox (a former British journalist turned thriller writer) has used his investigative reporter skills to meticulously research the Cagot people and obviously has traveled extensively through the Pyrenees and Basque country. The descriptions of the villages and especially the churches, could only be from first person accounts. Mr. Knox is able to deliver the information without slowing down the action and is able also able to flesh out some interesting minor characters and develop a perplexing, complicated female companion for David. All of this adds up to a first rate thriller with something for everyone (over the age of seventeen). Fair warning, there are somewhat graphic description of the murders and more S-E-X than I normally find in these types of thrillers (not that it is overt or distracting).

After you read the novel you must visit his website which includes a ton of additional information and photo taken during his journeys. I had previously read his first novel The Genesis Secret and enjoyed it but Marks of Cain is more consistent and a superior story. I am looking forward to his third book The Severed Men, due out in England in March and the US later next year. If you need one more thrill (and who doesn’t) to extend the summer I strongly recommend Tom Knox’s The Marks of Cain.

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