Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: The Extraordinary Temptation by Patrick McCusker

The Extraordinary Temptation
by Patrick McCusker

While on a routine sewer line dig near a thousand-year-old monastery in Ireland, the crew unearth an unmarked cubic meter of white marble. Young archaeologist Ed Weaver, assigned to the dig, finds funding from a Texas billionaire, arranges for the marble cube to be broken and its contents stolen.

25946401Ed's girlfriend Jennie is murdered in process of the theft, and he is bent on finding the murderer, retrieving the stolen contents, and bringing the perpetrators to justice. But how can you trace a stolen artifact when you don't even know what was stolen?

Bill Bronoski, the Texas billionaire, discovers that the stolen artifact is none other than the Crown of Thorns placed on the head of Jesus Christ. Attached to a thorn is a tiny piece of mummified flesh, and Bill uses a team of experts in his biotech labs to attempt to clone Christ.

My Take:
The idea behind this book is both riveting and revolting. From the perspective of a Christian, murder and theft pale in comparison to the heinous blasphemy of attempting to clone the Savior. The author reflected this in the extreme deliberation the antagonist went through before taking advantage of the singular opportunity his crime provided. The protagonist, Ed, uses his wits and training and his expert contacts to prove who was behind the murder of Jennie and theft of the artifact, even determining through evidence what was stolen. The pursuit by Ed and the struggles the biotech team have to accomplish the impossible make for a reasonable read. But, it didn't end there...

Drug Content:
PG-13 - There's a bit of drinking in this book, and several references to hallucinogens.

R - The murder of Jennie is not very graphic, but there is a fatal automobile accident that is described in horrific detail. There is a description of a raider attack in a flashback that is quite graphic.

R - The Lord's name is taken in vain throughout the book, several characters seem to have difficulty communicating without it... The F-bomb is dropped a few times, and there is a scattering of other curse words here and there. The language was obviously intentional to depict the characters as they are.

Adult Content:
R - One of Ed's American friends spices up each contact with oblique and direct innuendos, sometimes even hinting at bestiality. There are multiple references to women as objects. I do not recall any actual sex scenes.

Christian content:
Sigh. From a Christian perspective, the book gives a clear and winning testimony of the deity of Christ, of His power and Godship. Of God's eternal power, omniscience and omnipotence. Evil spirits are very present and allowed to attack and harass the antagonist and the staff on his ranch.

On the other hand, it also depicts all other beliefs and paths as equally valid and saving, which does not agree with Christ's own claims to be the only Way (John 14:6) (John 15:5). While the book's request that the church return to simple origins and eschew opulence is valid, some of its points don't align with scripture.

Final analysis:
The first half of this book was an excellent and engaging read. I was riveted by the action and struggle of Ed to discover the truth, of the scientists in their attempts to do the impossible, even the terrorizing of the villain. The book could have been a five-star if it had ended when Ed retrieved the crown, or with Bill's punishment. Unfortunately, it didn't end there, and the second half of the book devolved into a second coming advented by the cloning, and a message to the global church by God to simplify and go back to its roots. This was almost a book in itself, when it could have been a few chapters, even though it spanned a few decades. I loved the first half of this book, and really wanted to like it as a whole, but just couldn't. Three Stars. (Really, three and a half, but I'm not given that option...)

About The Author:

Patrick McCusker is a published author, lecturer and nature conservationist.

My first book "Planet Dancing" is about conserving nature on large scale and was published by Open Gate Press, London in 2011.

My second book entitled "FEAR" is an American Medical thriller with a young Japanese-American doctor as the heroine. The story opens in China but then moves to the USA, Boston in particular. Something in a river that flows through Harbin, a city in NE China, is killing people: not just killing them but reducing them to dry husks.

My latest release, "The Extraordinary Temptation" is a science fiction medical thriller where a piece of mummified skin is discovered in a medieval monastic settlement in Ireland. A wealthy American attempts to clone a human from this flesh and unsettling things happen to all those who become involved in this work.

I have won a number of prizes for short stories and at the moment I am attempting to write a stage play. I expect it will be a complete disaster - but here's hoping!

When I was younger I lived in the USA and Canada. While in Canada I stayed for four months in a First Nation's village. I tasted real clam chowder on Vancouver Island and Florida introduced him to my first bowl of homily grits.

I now live in Wicklow, Ireland, with a lump of a cat that chases big rabbits without success. But she insists on prowling the one hectare garden that one day ...!

Contact me, or the cat to collaborate at:

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