In scene after scene of Brian Gallagher’s engagingly improbable romp** I recalled both the movie and the gag about Jewish history I’ve used in the title of this piece.
A first-time published writer, Gallagher weaves a deftly plotted tale involving Nazis, aliens and malevolent forces at the Holy See, while ensuring that his fictional cast remains very well watered and fed even to the end.
But readers must develop both strong digestions and a willing suspension of disbelief as the often gory thriller careers wildly from pre-World War II Germany to modern Oregon, USA, back to at least a half-dozen locations in present-day central Europe with loads of shooting and lusty swearing before landing comfortably back home in the final leg.
Gallagher is a natural storyteller but he needs to look at characterisation and style. While The Vatican Protocol is not over-long, it is top-heavy with faintly sketched figures in too many locales which makes the plotline difficult to follow and easy to forget. Several times I had to turn back for a recap.
Never mind! It’s not every newbie author who spots his novel nestling cheek by jowl in a shop window with one by Stephen King or who indeed is praised by the master’s first editor, Michael Garrett. To cap it all, the book’s cover has been placed first for the 2016 Book Cover of the Year by Urban Lit magazine.
However, I must warn Gallagher that he has hit on a magical mix of ultra-popular themes for The Vatican Protocol and may need to work yet harder in order to maintain the pace.
** The Vatican Protocol is published by Mirror Publishing @ $15.99 (paperback) and $4.99 (Kindle).
© Natalie Wood (26 July 2016)