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|The Unholy Deception
by Lynn A. Marzulli
Published by Zondervan Publishing House, 2003
Suggested by: Greg Slade
According to Steve Laube in his online interview, 70% of the buyers in CBA bookstores are women. It is, no doubt, for that reason that even fiction in traditionally "guy" genres like science fiction tends to contain a lot of romance themes and tropes in an attempt to appeal to that majority readership. Therefore, Marzulli displays remarkable courage in bucking that trend. Not only is there no discernable "romance" content in this book (nor, for that matter, in Nephilim, the first book in the series), but The Unholy Deception is fairly bursting with "guy" toys. Even a simple jeep has a GPS receiver and a laptop computer wired into the glovebox. There are guy toys galore, including multiple aircraft (even including the SR-71, the coolest aircraft on the planet, which is brought on stage for no apparent reason other than the cool factor), a tricked-out sailboat, helicopters with a new secret weapon, and so on. Even the "bad guys" get to play with all kinds of gizmos. In short, this book reads something like The X-Files meets Popular Mechanics.
But, as with the first book, I had problems accepting certain events. A few choice words at the appropriate time manage to free the good guys from a couple of situations which, in the general nature of bureaucracies, should have tied them up for considerable time (and thus left them open to ploys by the bad guys.) The bad guys are terrifyingly organised, well equipped and funded, improbably united, and armed with excellent intelligence, but act bumbling and incompetent when the plot requires the good guys to escape from a hopeless situation. Then too, there were several technical glitches.
The plot is developing from the first book. The bad guys' plans are made clear in more detail, and the identity of one of the good guys, which was only hinted at in the first book, is made expicit. The ending led me to believe that there is at least one more book coming in this series, and sure enough, Amazon lists another title, Revealing, due out in September, 2004. (May, 2004)
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