The Vatican’s Vault, by Barry Libin

Seven stars

Having never read any books by Barry Libin, I approached this piece with an open mind. Finding it on Kindle Unlimited, I discovered this novel lacked the hype of many pieces I have read of late, allowing me to form my own opinions. When a priest is found murdered in the most horrific manner within the residence of the Archbishop of New York, the NYPD takes things seriously. While baffled as to what it means, Dr. Jeffrey Moss takes the lead on the case, trying to find some forensics that will tie it all together. At the same time in the Vatican, a newly-elected Pope has come to feel that the Church is straying too far away from its flock and seeks a special meeting of the leadership to address how to modernise. This comes with some significant blowback from long-serving officials, some of whom have their own views on how things ought to be run. While Moss makes a discovery on the body of the slain priest, he cannot completely understand what two coins might have to do with the murder, which takes him to Israel. He encounters a young archeologist who joins the hunt to understand how these murders might connect the Vatican to a biblical-era cache of riches. As more bodies pile up, Moss learns that this case has deep roots and someone wants to keep the secrets hidden, at least until they can take control of all things having to do with the Church. But, at what cost? Libin takes the reader on an adventure like no other, through murder, history, and biblical prophesy. A decent read for those who enjoy this sort of thing, though I am unsure where I stand on it all.

I enjoy a mystery as much as the next person, which is why I found myself drawn to this piece all about the Vatican and inner workings of Church politics. Barry Libin did well to depict how the murder of a priest with a message tied itself to a larger conspiracy, even if I was not entirely sold on the pot twists. Dr. Jeffrey Moss finds himself in the middle of this hoopla, a former top-notch surgeon who was enticed by something more grounded in the world of police forensics. He uses some of his know-how to piece things together, but needs help from many on the outside to make it all come together nicely. His attentiveness pushes clues to the surface, as he travels to find out how two coins might be at the core of a Vatican conspiracy to exert power beyond anything imagined. With some interesting backstory and a pinch of character development, Moss finds himself trying to connect with the reader at every turn, though it is only somewhat effective. Others congregate around the core tenets of the story, pushing things along while trying to remain true to all that is laid before them. The reader may enjoy this, or find that it is simply a little overdone, as names and places blur together. The premise of the piece was decent, though I found things less than riveting in a book I hoped would drum up sharp action and intense drama. Not too long, the book ought to have been filled with cliffhangers and gaining momentum, though I found it puttered along and kept me wondering, but not gasping as each piece fell into place. Libin does a decent job here, though I had hoped for something, though the precise description eludes me at present.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: