The Shroud Key (A Chase Baker Thriller) by Vincent Zandri

Do you love Dan Brown? Do you love Indiana Jones? Then do not waste another minute and grab The Shroud Key. You will not be disappointed. In fact, this story was so good that I finished the book in one sitting. I just could not put it down.

Chase Baker is a man for all seasons. He has worked as an excavator for archaeologists, has written books and done a million other things that take him around the world. As the book unfolds he is living in Florence, Italy working on his next novel. To make ends meet he conducts city tours and ends up in a fracas with a man in the first few pages. This lands him in the local lock up and the Captain running it has a proposition for Chase – find a missing archaeologist or be deported.

Chase loves a challenge and heads for his home to begin preparing. Before he even leaves he is confronted by Israeli security and the Vatican’s private police force. Why? Because what Chase and the archaeologist are looking for are the bones of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. Chase believes they should be available to the public to gaze upon; the Vatican wants them hidden because to expose them will diminish Jesus as a divine and mystical being; and the Israeli’s want to ensure that the bones remain in the Holy Land.

In addition to those pursuing him, Chase is joined by the archaeologists ex-wife – a professor with deep pockets due to family wealth. He also has a fixer, located in Florence but whose reach extends well beyond Italy. Both have their own agendas in assisting Chase and those unfold as the story does.

So the pursuit commences. Along the way we discover the many viewpoints of the characters to this mission they have undertaken. There are many scrapes to be caught in and got out of, there are a number of characters who assist or hinder the mission and there is non-stop action and some very good, snappy dialogue between the characters.

There are also many twists and turns that are unexpected and keep the story moving. The twists are good ones. They are not telegraphed and it is not easy to guess at what will happen next. That is one reason I could not put it down. The other was that the writing is so good – really good. It is crisp, it is focused and at the end, when the long awaited result is finally achieved, the writing is moving.

5 stars and no regrets in buying such a good book. I may even read this again.

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