Book review: Elisha’s Bones by Don Hoesel

An adult Christian thriller, but better-written than most. Here’s the official summary:

Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he’s offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are–bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. A born skeptic, Jack doesn’t think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth. But he’s not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

I’d been going through my Kindle app and trying out all the books I hadn’t read yet, throwing out the garbage and filing the good books. I had picked this up when Amazon offered it for free (Spirit-Filled-Kindle tracks the daily free ebooks and tries to only offer the non-crap ones).

I usually read the first couple of pages of a book, and if it stinks on ice, out it goes. I picked this up, noted vaguely that it was first person present-tense (which I despise). Then I realized I’d just finished the first chapter and was diving straight into the second. Then the third. Then the fourth.

It’s a great thriller novel. The hero, Jack, is a reluctant adventurer a la Indiana Jones, and his travels take him to a lost pyramid in South America, to Ethiopia and out to Australia. He’s accompanied by his ex-fiance, Esperanza, who is always punching him for dumping her. Bad guys of various factions follow them around and blow away secondary characters. Lots of skin-of-your-teeth escapes and holy-crap-I-didn’t-see-that-coming.

After the first paragraph, I never noticed that it was first person present tense. The book is stomach-clenchingly intense a la David Balducci. I’d say I devoured Elisha’s Bones, if it didn’t sound so macabre. But it’s the truth. I devoured this book. If you like thrillers, ancient tombs, artifacts with mysterious powers, merciless bad guys, and tension, pick up Elisha’s Bones and enjoy the ride.

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2 thoughts on “Book review: Elisha’s Bones by Don Hoesel

  1. I may have to check that out, but I get very frustrated with first person present tense too. That’s why I’ve never been able to get passed ten pages in The Hunger Games. I really don’t WANT to read the Hunger Games, but I feel like I have to in order to understand the genre a bit better… and to see why people like it so much.

    Though I suspect it’s the movies more than the books that’s making it popular.

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    1. I haven’t read Hunger Games because there’s nothing about it that interests me. Dystopian future? No. Murder of children? No. One person taking on the system? No. Reality TV? No. If Katniss used magic instead of bows and arrows, I might be marginally interested, but no. Elisha’s Bones, on the other hand, being a thriller, benefits from first person present tense because it’s totally immersive. And it’s well done.

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