Unholy Grail Review
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What happens when you pair a middle-aged Jesuit priest and an attractive agnostic professor of religious history? You get a really sad attempt to remake the The DaVinci Code.

D.L. Wilson’s Unholy Grail is a pale imitation of Dan Brown’s biggest novel to date. The plot is essentially the same, and while the outcome is slightly different, the result is a book that readers will feel like they’ve already been through. The writing is tighter, though, and the book does have a better pace, with plot twists that aren’t entirely obvious.

This twist on the concept of Jesus and Mary Magdalene involves more secret groups and organizations. But all the groups are out to keep the secret a secret, with no real villain wanting to tell the world the truth.

Here’s a quick synopsis of how the book starts: Father Joseph Romano and Professor Brittany Hamar are the two main characters, joined on a quest to discover the truth about the supposed child of Jesus and Mary. They both receive mysterious phone calls about a manuscript that will be delivered to them at a train station. The Professor gets shot, the gunman flees after planting the gun on the Jesuit priest, who forgets he has it until much later. He then turns it over to the police—who then let him go after only a few questions. Can you understand why I don’t think the story is very well written? But I forgot to mention that there’s someone running around the globe murdering seemingly unconnected priests and posing them nude in the position of the stigmata. Not exactly believable, even for a first novel.

Wilson does give the book a good pace and tries to keep the plot easier to follow than Dan Brown did with DaVinci. But he never really creates a sense of suspense or gives his characters any depth. The plot can only go in a limited number of directions, and that’s one of the things that holds this book back as a thriller. The plot has been done too many times (and frankly better) recently for this book to have a chance to make an impression on readers with limited attention spans.

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