The Cana Mystery, by David Beckett

Three stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, David Beckett, and Tuscany Press for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

During an archeological excavation in the Egyptian desert, Paul Grant discovers what could be a very important piece of biblical mythology. Covered in a script he cannot decipher, Grant summons Ava Fischer from MIT to assist in the translation. When Fischer arrives, she and Grant soon discover that they might be in possession of two of the jars used by Jesus to turn water into wine, from the Wedding at Cana. Worried that others will try to intercept this precious treasure, they go on the lam, hoping to decipher the jars’ text and learn more about its prophecy. With a collection of ruffians on their tail, Grant and Fischer try to deliver the items to the true guardians of Christ’s belongings, the Catholic Church. As they examine the jars a little closer, new mysteries emerge that could have a monumental impact on history and the present day. They must work fast and covertly, before the jars fall into the wrong hands and the prophecy is snuffed out forever. A curious read for those who enjoy a little thriller peppered with biblical and historical references.

Beckett posits some very interesting things within this novel, tapping into historical fact and some biblical supposition. The story is solid and the characters are mostly believable, which helps move the novel along in a somewhat effective manner. Beckett does run into some issues with the flow of the story by the way he divides his chapters. Within each is an advancement of the subplots as they progress, though the development is short and rotates repeatedly. The reader is left spinning as they try to piece together the story, with this choppy writing style, offset with short chapters and gargantuan ones. While this might be an editorial issue (perhaps Beckett was only paid per chapter, so best to keep it down to as few as possible), but it seems glaringly obvious where to break the text and insert a fresh chapter, or build on a single storyline continually rather than flipping back and forth. Even with this impediment, there is a strong message seeping into the text that leaves the writer feeling somewhat better, as Good faces off against Impending Doom. Who will succeed and who is left in literary purgatory? That’s for the reader to discover by the final pages.

Kudos, Mr. Beckett for this interesting tale. While not as stellar as it might have been, you did tackle an interesting perspective and did so in a highly entertaining manner.