Title: The Genesis Secret
Author: Tom Knox
Perspective: third person past
Note: SPOIL HEAPS!
Tom Knox is the pseudonym of a journalist named Sean Thomas, which begs the question as to why he isn't using his real name. He's had several 'international best sellers' (although what that means in practice, I have no idea!), so you’d think he'd be proud! Oh well!
The Genesis Secret is another in a long line of secret religion thrillers/horrors by various authors. Since I have no beliefs in any gods or demons, you might think that I wouldn’t be interested in these stories. I have no belief in space alien visitations or witches or wizards either, but I still will read those stories if they tell a good tale. It’s all fiction to me!
The Genesis secret in which Turkish Kurd meets British Way, starts off with the obligatory religiously-oriented evil murders with bodily mutilations and arcane messages, in this case carved into the flesh of the victims. We meet Mark Forrester, a London detective who is trying to solve these murders and is literally without a clue. We also meet Rob Luttrell, a journalist who is taking a break from his almost-demolition by a bomb in Iraq, to report on an archaeological dig in the Kurdish part of Turkey near a town called Sanliurfa.
The dig is real, the story is fiction. When he arrives, Luttrell meets a gorgeous young French woman of course (not of course she's French but of course she's young and gorgeous), Christine Meyer, who will be, doubtlessly, his love interest by the end of the novel. Telegraph much, Tom?!
The lead archaeologist dies killed horribly, right after some Kurds were seen by Luttrell and Meyer chanting an ancient curse by candle light under his window! The Kurds resent the archaeologists being there because although they're paid for their work on the dig, they feel their heritage is being dug up and exported to Turkey.
Meyer meets Luttrell and tells him that the murdered archaeologist, Breitner, had a secret notebook in which he wrote ideas he was entertaining. They go back to the dig to find the safe in which he kept it, but he safe is gone. As they get back into the Land Rover, Luttrell finds the notebook hidden in the back. They visit another of the dig team who confirms that the piece of grass they found in the notebook is einkorn wheat. Yes, he grassed him out!
Forrester visits Isle of Man to investigate a similar murder to the one in London. Still no real clues.
Luttrell and Meyer are trying to figure out Breitner's notebook, and it was obvious to me right from the start. In it there is a map of one river becoming four. Clearly this is the four rivers mentioned in Genesis in relation to the Garden of Eden, but neither Luttrell nor Meyer get it. Then there's the tree! They still don't get it. I Can se how Luttrell wouldn't; he's not orientated that way, but Meyer really has no excuse. Not only is she one of the archaeologists working on the project, she's also quite religious and knowledgeable enough to take Luttrell on a local tour of religious sites without a map! No excuse.
Sanliurfa is evidently the Garden of Eden. There are numbers, too, in the notebook, about which my first guess would be that they're Bible verse references. They take a trip out to Haran, a Biblically referenced village tied to Abram, and finally they visit some caves dedicated to the moon god, where evidently, human sacrifices were conducted, and Luttrell mentions that Abram was prepared to sacrifice his son. Then he finally gets the Bible references!
Forrester finally gets a lead: five men dressed as telecom workers were spotted in a field which is also an ancient site. Their vehicle is also spotted. News comes in that a similar crime was committed in new England. Meanwhile Forrester has researched ancient sacrifices and concluded that the Star of David is actually 'Solomon's star' and that these people, for some reason are into human sacrifice.
Luttrell finally tells Meyer that the numerical references are Bible verses. One of the Turkish police detectives visits them and tells them they need to leave Turkey otherwise they will find themselves in jail. They resolve to stay, of course.
Forrester finally gets a lead: five men dressed as telecom workers were spotted in a field which is also an ancient site. Their vehicle is also spotted. News comes in that a similar crime was committed in new England. Meanwhile Forrester has researched ancient sacrifices and concluded that the Star of David is actually 'Solomon's star' and that these people, for some reason are into human sacrifice. Really? Wow!
Luttrell finally tells Meyer that the numerical references are Bible verses. One of the Turkish police detectives visits them and tells them they need to leave Turkey otherwise they will find themselves in jail. They resolve to stay so they can break into the museum. Meyer can get the pass-codes from a guard who is hot for her, but instead of going during the daytime, on a holiday when every citizen of the town is fully occupied with festivities and they won;t even be noticed, they wait through all of that until it gets dark and very, very quiet, and then they break in. They find some jars containing infants which have evidently been stuffed into the jars alive and then allowed to suffocate - as a sacrifice. They're assailed and captured by a bunch of men, but as they're brought out of the museum, the Turkish cop shows up with a SWAT team (Why? How? We don't know!). He frees Luttrell and Meyer from the mob and puts them on a plane telling them to leave Turkey and to never return.
Forrester finally begins to get a clue. He's led by information to investigate highly educated young men who may have had trouble in their school or college and who have dropped out or gone AWoL recently. In this way he tracks down a family in central France which has some secrets. Their grandfather was a general in World War One who seemed fond of sacrificing his men to the German machine guns. They learn that there were also more ancient sacrifices made in this locale. But the young son whom the seek is not there.
Meanwhile, Luttrell and Meyer are pretty much just vacationing for ten days in Istanbul with a friend of Meyer's. No reason is given for their lolly-gagging in Istanbul, but we do learn that they've now become lovers (as was expected, you'll recall!). None of this is described; we hear of it only after the fact. Obviously they haven't yet left Turkey, but that's about to change.
Luttrell makes the manly decision that he must go alone to Lalesh, in Kurdish Iraq, the heart of the Yezidi religion (yes, real town, real religion). He asks Meyer to go back to London to keep an eye on his daughter for him. No explanation as to why she needs to do this is offered. His daughter is with his ex wife, and no threats have been offered to either party, but if Luttrell's newspaper stories have been noticed by the believers, they could, I guess, go after his family, in which case Meyer gets to be the saving hero, and Luttrell's ex becomes another victim? I'm guessing that's where this is going, because we certainly haven't had anywhere near enough horrific misery and gore yet in this novel!
Forrester finds another body, this one flayed alive. At this point I'm starting to wonder about Knox. It's like he's taken the most disgusting aspects of every barbaric religion that ever flourished and meshed them into one so he can be gross and nasty just for the sake of it. Of course, this does serve the double-purpose of his having a horrible tale to tell, and of exposing how utterly disgraceful religions have been throughout history. But then I knew that.
Meanwhile back with Luttrell, the story takes a sci-fi turn. Having spent another ten days in an Iraqi village fruitlessly trying to learn about the Yezidi religion, Luttrell is about to give up and go home when he's invited to Lalesh by a young Yezidi boy who educates him about their religion. He looks around Lalesh and spots some men sneaking into a hut, so he wraps a head scarf around his own face and sneaks in. No, they're not watching a stripper, they are venerating a skull which is very human looking, but not quite human enough: obviously, it’s an alien skull. Shades of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!
Luttrell feels a knife at his throat, has his head bagged, and is dragged into another room where he once again agonizes over the details of his inevitably forthcoming torture and murder. But as before, nothing happens. This is a bit tedious because Knox is so repetitive in this mode. In the end, Luttrell's Yezidi friend concludes that he should allow Luttrell to go free and hopefully his story will benefit the Yezidi and remove some of the devil-worship stigma from them.
Well I've abandoned this novel. As I expected, Christine and Luttrell's child Lizzie were both abducted, then we're treated to the most disgusting scene of Meyer's entrails being cooked while still attached to her, alive, then we find it wasn't actually her but Meyer's friend Isobel, and Meyer is really still alive, then Luttrell is forced to confront the psycho, and we see him disappear, shot and apparently dying, into the raging river. And the only reason I know that is because I skipped to the end to see what it was! I skipped the last hundred pages or so because at that point I couldn't stand to read this twaddle any more.
I'm sorry, but this novel which started out offering some hope of a decent religious mystery/thriller with a possible sci-fi connection just went to hell. Even the big mysterious skull is blown off completely, as indeed did the reader. This novel is crap And I'm sorry I wasted so much time trying to find something worthwhile in it.
TO BE CONTINUED!