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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Secret of Fatima by Peter J. Tanous is an exciting Christian thriller that tells the story of Father Kevin Thrall, a Catholic priest who used to be a soldier. The Vatican asks Father Kevin, who has a unique past, to stop a group of rogue members of the Roman Catholic Church from starting a nuclear war. Father Kevin is reluctant to get involved but feels it is his duty. The extremist group, called Opus Mundi, believes that the church has strayed from its spiritual teachings and wants to bring about an apocalypse to reform it. They plan to start a nuclear war in the Middle East. Father Kevin is pursued by assassins while trying to stop them and protect his loved ones, including Katie, the woman he loves. The book is full of suspense and action as Father Kevin races against time to prevent a catastrophe.
I had a really clever analogy about author Peter J. Tanous being a fisher of men with the wide-ranging collection of characters in his novel The Secret of Fatima, but I'll just leave the carrot right there. Father Kevin, who allows us to drop the formalities and simply call him Kevin, is an acerbic and cynically intelligent anti-hero who is prone to things like torture due to a vacillating moral barometer. To put it frankly, if Rambo, Sherlock Holmes, and Jack Ryan had a child, it would be Kevin Thrall. And I liked him...a lot. Tanous follows the hard-boiled structure of a thriller that involves the Catholic church. One part old prophetic artifact, in this case, the Secret of Fatima, a conspiracy of extremists, important people dying, and a priest with a combat background who can get the job done. Tanous's twist here is nuclear war, an angle that makes the church as much of a potential victim as millions of people in West Asia. The most critical part of a thriller is its twists, which Tanous isn't stingy about and he keeps a reader guessing. Between the plot, the fast pacing, and the easy narrative, this novel makes for a solid entry into its new series. Recommended.