The Secret Scroll

Ronald Cutler, Author Beaufort Books $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0515-3

Those with an insatiable appetite for conspiracy thrillers involving the discovery of an ancient text with world-shaking implications may enjoy Cutlers debut, but predictable plotting and routine prose will likely disappoint others. On sabbatical leave in Israel, American archeologist Josh Cohan makes the chance find of a lifetime in a desert cavea jar containing a scroll that may be an autobiographical narrative by Jesus Christ himself emphasizing his human struggles. After Josh shares the news of his sensational discovery with the Israeli authorities, the scroll becomes the target of a shadowy cabal, the Guardians, which launches assaults on Cohan and those close to him. The novels romantic interest, an Israeli antiquarians knockout daughter, is abducted twice and threatened with harm straight out of a silent-movie serial. The authors attempts to preach a message of religious tolerance get lost in plot devices that titillate rather than engage the readers emotions. ""Author tour. (Feb.)"" .