Friday Review: Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

Illuminated (An August Adams Adventure, #1)Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe My rating: 2 of 5 stars

August Adams is an archeaobibliologist. He specializes in rare antique books and is currently employed by collectors looking to add to their collections at any price. He is on a plane returning to New York with a copy of the Gutenberg bible he has obtained for a client. The woman sitting next to him turns out to be a member of an old religious sect that is convinced that the secret to the lost Templar treasure is contained in the illuminations Gutenberg printed in the bibles. She and her associates have kidnapped August’s family and unless he solves the mystery of the illuminations (in an hour on the plane, no less), his ex-wife, son, and mother-in-law will die.

I mean, it sounded good. A bit like Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon books, which I enjoyed. The problem is Bronleewe is no Dan Brown. The story is pretty thin and convoluted. It could have used a lot more depth to make the mystery more intriguing. Characters are flat and stereotypical for this sort of thriller. None of them really spring out as fully rounded or much more than the tropes they are based on. A few of the bad guys had what appeared to be changes of heart with no real reason for why they happened. One of them turned into a sort of deus ex machina that saved the day. And it wasn’t even a front and center part of the story. It’s explained after the fact. There is some action but most of the story is contained in the airplane with Adams which isn’t very exciting. There is a bit of violence also, but that, too, is out of sight. The ending was flat and just sort of fell off without a big climax or resolution.

Overall, this felt like a book written to take advantage of the popularity of The DaVinci Code, National Treasure, or Indiana Jones style tales. It could have been a better book. I did give it two stars because the idea was interesting. The execution just didn’t work for me.

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