It’s been a long, long time since I last wrote a book review, but funnily enough, very much like the last one I wrote about, this one also has todo with the Vatican and the election of a new Pope. I guess this is who I am now…
To make things even more peculiar, this is a book that, as far as I can tell, is not even available in English. I have searched high and low on the internet for an English translation, but there seems to be none. The mystery deepens!
That, along with the morbid nature of the book (it’s called The Gospel of Evil or The Gospel According to Satan, depending on the translation) and the violence contained within its pages, accounts for a very interesting read indeed…
Do you want to come with me and discover the mysteries this book has to unravel? I can’t guarantee your safety along the way…
Marie Parks is an FBI agent with a very peculiar quirk: she can talk to the dead, and even become the dead and relive the moments when they were assassinated. Though traumatising, this ability has helped her track down and imprison many serial killers.
The first segment of the book is dedicated to her and her past cases. You would be excused for reading it and thinking this book does not amount to much; I myself felt a little bit bored. I also got the impression that the author just wanted to make things look as grim and depressing as possible. It goes on and on explaining in minute detail some of the horrible cases which Marie solved, or some of the victims whose murder she was forced to relive. I would recommend soldiering on through this bit; though the book will never get happier, it at least gets less gritty and more interesting.
Things get more interesting when Marie meets a serial killer who defies all expectations. He’s obsessed with religious imagery, is unbearably brutal, and, worst of all, seems to be immortal. This case will lead her to find a bigger conspiracy which spans throughout the whole world whose ultimate objective is to take control of the Vatican and reveal to the masses the great lie that the church has been hiding for centuries. The lie revealed in the Gospel of Satan.
From this moment onwards, the book becomes less police crime fiction and more fantasy. It is in this kind of dark fantasy where the strength of The Gospel of Evil lies.
Don’t get me wrong: this is not high literature. It is readable, it is fun, and it will keep you hooked. I also appreciate the exercise in comparative religion that Patrick Graham went through when he compared several myths around the world in order to look for a common cause. He is definitely a learned and very creative man who knows how to take the best of history and anthropology and turn it into an engaging story.
If I had to compare this book to anything, it would be The Da Vinci Code; personally, I found it more entertaining, even if I flinched at the violence and brutality of certain scenes. The way the authors take their knowledge of the history of religion and then turn it on its head to create a best-seller is very similar. If you enjoyed Dan Brown’s book, you will love this one.
If you like thrillers, this one is a page-turner which will keep you engaged for days. It is fast-paced, there are enough plot twists (and they are interesting enough) to keep you glued to the pages, and the ending is shocking enough to justify such an extensive work. The bad news is, you will need to know French, Spanish, Italian or German in order to do so; I haven’t found it translated in any other language.
Be warned though; if you are sensitive to violence, murder, cruelty, or just generally bad things happening very often (and God knows I am), then you might want to reconsider it. This is not a book for everyone, but lovers of thrillers and horror stories should be able to enjoy it immensely.
I would like to dedicate this review to Marta, who brought this book to my attention and lent it to me so I could enjoy it. It is very much appreciated.