The Lost Codex (OPSIG Team Black, Book #3)
by Alan Jacobson
Release Date: November 3rd 2015
2015 Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller
Ebook Edition; 428 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher
3.5 / 5 Stars
In 930 CE, a revered
group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from
which other major religions will grow. But in 1953, half the manuscript
goes missing while being transported from Syria. Around the same time,
in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered—and
promptly stolen. Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart
of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical
extremists, threatening the lives of millions. With the American
homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained
covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces
veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel. Their
mission: Find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible
for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.
The Lost Codex is the third novel in the OPSIG series that features Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos. Many characters from other novels typically show up throughout the novels so it was a treat to have Karen Vail on board as a member of the team as I love the wit and sarcasm that she peppers throughout the situations that arise, both to herself and to others; it definitely helps relieve the overall tension, and she's a lot of fun, even when being bad-ass. I was also glad to see FBI Agent Aaron Uziel back for the ride as well.
First of all, the author's research abilities always astound me and I've always thought he must have experience in this field, either as an agent or something else in order to know so much. Having done research with the FBI's Behavioural Analysis Unit as was as doing numerous seminars with the FBI, his knowledge is astounding, and this is one of the things I admire about these books, including this one. And knowing that a lot of what I've read is factual, information from the Notes at the back of the book, makes me feel a lot better as it made the events that much more terrifying as you realize they could happen. And unfortunately, so many situations in this book really hit home, especially with the situation in Paris and with ISIS and other terrorist organizations. There were many times when I couldn't believe how the themes paralleled actual events making it a bit eerie.
This novel definitely has all the makings of a great novel. Although the novel was well-written and there were some great plot elements, I just found that when all of these elements were put together, they just did not live up to their promise. There were times when the author did fall back on predictable patterns of behaviour rather than taking a risk and I was a bit disappointed by that. For example, I thought the Codex would play a greater role than it did, given the title of the book, but except for a few minor points, it was relegated to background information only. There just wasn't enough information about it to make it even remotely interesting, and unfortunately, the plot denigrated into good guys killing the bad guys using a variety of different weapons and techniques that got kind of boring and repetitive. I also didn't feel like the author used any of the characters appropriately, kind of downgrading their importance to shoot-outs, often relegating them to background characters, Karen's being the worst, I think. Her comments got to the point where they sounded churlish and unprofessional, almost like she was feeling what I was feeling. That being said however, there were some great moments in this novel, ones that did keep me flipping through the pages, but there were also moments when I was looking forward to the end of the novel too.
The Lost Codex is one of those books that had some great moments in it, had some great characters, but unfortunately, the whole didn't quite work that well when put together. While I have some knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian issue, it was interesting to learn a bit more in this novel and to delve into more sensitive issues, those issues really paralleling some of the ones happening in our world today which is kind of scary. The novel is definitely worth reading for the discussions on terrorism alone as they're quite interesting and they do make you think. The blend of fiction and technology was quite seamless as well, and I also enjoyed that aspect. I was disappointed in the minor role the Lost Codex played in this novel as I enjoy historical mysteries and would have loved it to have been much bigger than it was. Overall, I did enjoy many moments in this novel and will continue to read future novels by this author.