Absolute Proof, Peter James
ABSOLUTE PROOF is a rare thing in these parts - a "did not finish". Try as I might to get into this whopping big thriller, it's just too much of a slog. (For the record I'm not a fan of Dan Brown's books either so there is a distinct possibility that this one was never destined to work for me as it seems to have been compared favourably to them in a number of quarters).
But for this reader, right from the outset there was much that pushed suspension of disbelief too far, and much that just flat out didn't work. The reader is called up on accept that an investigative journalist who has experienced war zone death and terror returns to his daily life willing to accept his wife's infidelity, willing to live with his concerns about his unborn child's parentage, willing to continue to not really trust this woman, until it suddenly becomes something that isn't much talked about again. Mind you, this is same man who is also willing to accept the word of a total stranger that he has proof of the existence of a god. He's willing to pursue that investigation after the violent death of that self-same stranger, he's willing to believe DNA can be retrieved from coagulated blood found in a chalice recovered from the bottom of a well after a couple of thousand years, that the compass points dictated by this god to the aforementioned stranger are pointing to all these artifacts that line up nicely to provide a DNA profile that matches... and and and.
Maybe all of that will work for some readers, perhaps it is better if the central premise actually made a modicum of sense - but it's slower than continental drift on Mars in progressing, there is SO MUCH that's just accepted on face value, and it all descended into farcical fantasy with absolutely no semblance of logic that I fear the premise has no hope of making sense, the resolution is so uninteresting (and many aspects so utterly predictable) that I have had to abandon half-way through before excessive irritation gets the better of me.
Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn't answer the phone call that would change his life - and possibly the world - for ever.
"I'd just like to assure you I'm not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I've recently been given absolute proof of God's existence - and I've been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously."
What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?
The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life's work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world's major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence...
I'm with Karen's great review. As I read on through the nearly 600 pages, I realized I did not like the protagonist, Ross, he seemed quite dense about his chosen profession -- none of the characters had anything going that would make a reader like or dislike them, and as the book dragged on, I felt the title should be changed to "Preposterous". Somehow I staggered to the end, which was even more preposterous, and I think Mr. James, incredibly, was more tired of writing the novel than I was of reading it. The end left the limp and hapless Ross happy ever after, through none of his own efforts -- oh sorry. That's not really a spoiler. As if.
Highly do not recommend this book, time wasted.
I've enjoyed some of Peter James crime novels in the past so when I saw this remaindered at Kmart for $2.50 I grabbed what I thought was a bargain. A quick read of the blurb which I should have done in-store set alarm bells ringing. I loved your review Karen, it made me laugh, I'm glad you made the attempt to read it so we don't have too. I can't even bring myself to start reading it now, looks like a win for the local op shop.
It's a bit of a relief to know it's not just me when it comes to books of this kind (although Peter you might want to append a note to the front page before casting it adrift in the op shop). Seems only fair to forewarn those tempted :)