Monday, December 22, 2014

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

This novel takes place mostly on Patmos and some of the near by islands. Nick is a journalist looking to boost his sagging career. He gets a possible break when he is hired to investigate the disappearance of valuable antiquities. He enlists the help of a friend from the past, Carey. She had just graduated with her degree in forensic archeology and accepted a job in Greece. But the Institute for which she was to work has mysteriously closed and Nick's call comes just at the right time.

In the course of Nick and Carey trying to track down the smugglers, they befriend various local Greeks, including Dimitri who is trying to keep his family's charter boat business afloat.

The novel has plenty of action in the second half including a number of boat trips to various islands. It took a while for the plot to get to the point where it was interesting. I found most of the action hard to visualize. I would sometimes reread paragraphs to make sure I understood what was going on. The novel takes place when Greece was experiencing severe economic downturn and we do learn quite a bit about that.

Carey has a spiritual experience that may be considered a Christian rebirth. The theme of Christianity is not prominent in the book, even though most of the action takes place on the island where John received his revelation. There are some allusions to that part of Christian history but they were more on the order of setting the stage rather than being the center of it.

The writing is good but not something I would call superb. There is no clever dialog. No sneaky plot twists. There is talk of characters changing but, except for Carey's religious experience, it is not shown through their actions. It is a good novel but I would not put it in the category of one of the better ones I have read this year.

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist and a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Oxford. His books have sold seven million copies worldwide. He and his wife divide their time between the English countryside and the coast of Florida. Find out more at

Bethany House Publishers, 336 pages.

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