Secret of the Seventh Son really is much, much better than the last one (or two) I read by Glenn Cooper. So much so, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out this was actually written by someone else under the name Glenn Cooper. Maybe Glenn Cooper is just a made-up umbrella name for a group of writers and Secrets of the Seventh Son is by the good one in the team.
Erm, actually, and perhaps not surprisingly, on closer investigation, SotSS, seems to be the first by our Glenn. I can only guess, that his agent said after he delivered this one, “what else have you got?” And in the kitchen cupboard drawer- under The Tenth Chamber, was – amongst others – The Devil Will Come. He’d have been better of with finding the shopping list in that one’s case. But that’s just me.
Anyway, here we have the FBI hunt for a serial killer with an irritatingly random modus operandi and a religiously undertoned historical mystery thriller ensues. That turns into a race against time, manhunt-type suspense thriller. There, I think I’ve about covered it all.
It holds the attention, even with some darting to and fro sometimes just months, sometimes back to the 8th and 9th century. It’s an intriguing enough plot, at least up until around half way, when it becomes reasonably clear what’s going on. But even then, there are some big surprises and enough unexpected twists to keep me going to the end. Oh, and there’s an alternative – and reasonably plausible – explanation for what might really be hidden at Area 51. If you believe there is something hidden there. Or that there IS an Area 51…
‘Will Piper’ is a decent, solid sympathetic character. An FBI suspect profiler with a believable back-story (as CNN might say. Often). Actually, a level of believability I’ve not encountered too often in books of this ‘me too’ religious secrets thriller sort. Style-wise, it put me in mind of one by Michael Connelly I read. An attention to and description of, believable character detail that had me thinking I should me taking more than mental notes, as it’s as sure as whatever that some of this is gonna come in useful for solving the case, both for the character and for me.
There are a couple of other unexplained, perhaps fortuitous “there’s lucky!” circumstances or coincidences, but not enough to get in the way of enjoying the book as a whole. One does need to spring over (as we say here in Denmark) the idea that only the male genes are passed on to sons from their fathers. That only male children are born in these special circumstances – I don’t remember there being any mention of girls being born. You’ll know what I’m on about if you read the book
I’d also like to find out why the Isle of Wight. Having had countless holidays on the IoW in my younger days, I knew that the book’s medieval passages in ‘Vectis’ were on the IoW. I think he’s got some relationship with the UK somewhere down the line. For an American, he’s clearly got a practiced ear for us English, you can tell that from the sections, the dialogue especially of the parts set in England and even the section with the Scottish people ring very true. Though I’d have used ‘pal’, instead of ‘mate.’
All in all though, a vast improvement (actually I suppose it was more a ‘good start’, as this actually came first) on the others I’ve read of Glenn Cooper’s.