Woo-hoo! A Good Book!

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that’s so good that I have a hard time putting it down. When out shopping over the weekend, I chanced upon a book sale at one of the thrift shops. I went through their tables of books and picked out some titles for myself and my greatniece. (I found her some sweet picture books and a few cardboard books for toddlers.)

When I brought my booty home, I shared my stack with my mom. I’d already picked out the first one I was going to read. It was the blurb on the cover that caught my eye: “Dan Brown meets Robert Ludlum …” And that quick analysis was written by Greg Iles, another favorite author of mine.

I’ve been mourning the death of Robert Ludlum, and hadn’t found a decent replacement. His books were fast-paced — so much so that if you missed a couple of pages, you missed important stuff. You had to keep the story fresh in your mind. I often wondered how Ludlum wrote such tales of intrigue and action — if he sat down and plotted it all out ahead of time, or just sat down and wrote off the cuff.

Dan Brown gripped the world with his books that melded reality and fiction. Who’s to say that a secret society isn’t protecting a child of Christ? Some may be offended, but I’m more open-minded. I love stories of “what-if.” Sure, he takes some liberties, but that’s also called literary license, which is acceptable for fiction.

So what’s this great new book I’m reading? It’s “Altar of Bones” by Philip Carter. And it’s definitely “Dan Brown meets Robert Ludlum.” A deathbed confession, a Siberian prisoner of war camp, a film that shows a “big kill” are just three elements of this novel that moves at breakneck speed.

Emerging as main characters are Ryland O’Malley and Zoe Dmitroff, both dodging killers on opposite sides of a conspiracy that’s lasted generations of their families. And the “what-if” elements? How about the death of Marilyn Monroe and the assassination of John F. Kennedy?!

Yes! I love it! I’m about halfway through the book, so I don’t know all the motivations of the characters. I have no clue how it’s going to end. It’s been a roller coaster without brakes. I know there’s the start of a second book by the same author at the end. (No, I didn’t look ahead to see the ending. I was looking for information about the author.)

And guess what. Philip Carter is a pseudonym for another renowned author. Argh!!! I’ve been searching the Internet, and there are a few people on books sites who think they have it figured out. My first guess would be James Patterson, but he’s got so much other stuff going on, when would he have a chance to write another thriller?

The pop-culture references and some of the language make me think it’s someone fairly young. It’s also someone who has done the research into the historical data on Marilyn Monroe and JFK, and the Russian Mafia. Authors who come to mind: Brad Meltzer, Dan Brown, Vince Flynn. My odds-on favorite in that group is Meltzer.

I love a mystery. The preview of the next book says it’s coming out in 2012. Hmm, I’ll have to do some more research and find that book. Amazon didn’t have it, so I’ll have to do more digging. Or, perhaps the writing of the second book is taking longer.