Realm of the Unknown
The brutal massacre of a dozen people in the small town of Masada kicks off this lackluster thriller featuring Vince Ramsey, "Ritual Investigator for the Ministry of Jerusalem." The sloppiness of the prose is evident from the first page: the author describes the Old City of Jerusalem as both "frozen in the past," and featuring hot Panini sandwiches for sale. Because there may be a religious underpinning to the murders, Ramsey is asked to investigate. On the scene, he uncovers a pure silver necklace bearing strange markings, a discovery he keeps to himself until he can sort out its significance. Ramsey's investigation is aided by the de rigueur sexy scientist and hostage-to-be April Fulton, while the action and plot leaves few clichés untapped. None of that is aided by the author's purple prose: "The obligatory sun was just beginning to bleed orange-purple goo as its crest peeled like a slice of tangerine skin over the horizon."