Mark Terry

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On Your Reading Radar: The Last Secret by Lynn Sholes & Joe Moore



May 2, 2007

The Last Secret

by Lynn Sholes & Joe Moore

Midnight Ink

Trade Paperback. $14.95

ISBN: 0-7387-0931-X

I asked Joe Moore once how he would describe his and Lynn's books. They aren't exactly science fiction or fantasy, and although there were elements of the technothriller, that didn't quite cover it. Although my own books can be cleanly described as "action thrillers," that's not quite right for their Cotten Stone novels. Joe said, "apocalyptic thrillers," and that seems to me to be right on target.

Their two books to-date, "The Grail Conspiracy" and "The Last Secret", feature Satellite News Network (SNN, and I wish I'd thought of it) reporter Cotten Stone. Cotten, as it turns out, is the daughter of a nephilim, or fallen angel. Her father repented, but God made a deal with him. Of his twin daughters, one would return to heaven with HIM; the other--Cotten--would remain on earth, HE had plans for her.

In "The Last Secret", Cotten has found her reputation as a hotshot SNN reporter on the rocks due to a spectacular fraud that she bought into and reported on. Scrambling for work, she takes on an assignment in Peru to report on an archaeological dig. While near Macchu Picu, the dig team uncovers a fabulous crystal tablet marked with unusual etchings, some of which appears to be dots and lines, as if a version of kippu, a version of ancient Peruvian record keeping (usually done on strings and linens with knots) that some archaeologists believe is also a complicated written language. The top half of the writing suggests there will be a great flood, and gives directions on how to survive it. The second half remains incomprehensible except for a line suggesting the "cleansing would be led by the daughter of an angel."

Before they can get going on that much further, a swarm of strange fireflies attacks the encampment, and destroys the tablet. Everyone is driven crazy and commits bizarre acts of suicide, except Cotten who barely escapes into the jungle.

The suicides in Peru are only the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon of strange mass suicides, often of spectacular vintage--the British Royal family, the crew of the International Space Station...

It turns out that there is at least one more tablet, and Cotten tries to rally her strength, along with the help of the Catholic Church, to locate the tablet before Satan's minions, in this case the remaining nephilim, can find it first and destroy it. The inscriptions involve mathematical formulas related to "string theory" and "quantum mechanics," and I for one am glad that Lynn and Joe didn't belabor either. I've read quite a bit about both, both in fiction and nonfiction, and it's one topic in physics that doesn't necessarily get clearer the more you study it.

Overall "The Last Secret" is an entertaining novel, full of exotic locations, esoteric archaeology, physics and theology, and an engaging main character. There's a more mystical element to it than, say, Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" or the novels of Steve Berry ("The Alexandria Link" and "The Templar Legacy."), but equally entertaining with a dollop of thought-provoking material.

Best,

Mark Terry


5 Comments:

Blogger Shannon said...

I actually had a chance to read these and they are great books...lots of fun! If you're looking for them in a brick & mortar store, for some reason they were shelved under "mystery". As Joe pointed out, it is a Cotten Stone mystery, but still...they read more like a thriller. Highly recommended.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

Mark,

Thanks for the kind words. It's always good to hear from a satisfied customer. And it's not that often you get to use the word "dollop". :-)

Shannon, thanks as well. Good luck with your writing.

Joe

9:04 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Ah, Shannon, I was going to comment on that "mystery" label. They do that with my Derek Stillwater novels, too, which are not really mysteries. It's because they "brand" Midnight Ink as "mysteries," and from what I've seen of books published by MI, Joe, Lynn and I are the predominant "thriller" writers on their catalogue, although there are a number of others (Tim Maleeny), but Tim's books are PI novels, whereas my books and Joe & Lynn's really don't fall under "mystery" all that well.

And yep, Joe, it's not often I get to use the word "dollop."

9:43 AM  
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