With a name like The Paradise Prophecy you can pretty much belt yourself in and hang on for the literary ride. And surely, The Paradise Prophecy delivers some sweet enjoyment, like amusement park cotton candy. But like the spun sugar sweet, it’s not very filling.
The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne is the story of U.S. secret agent Bernadette Callahan, part of a shadow agency known as Section. Callahan is dispatched to Brazil upon the mysterious death of a Christian pop singer. Intertwined into the plot is religious historian Sebastian “Batty” LaLaurie, who becomes Callahan’s Rosetta Stone for all things esoteric and religious.
Important to each movement of The Paradise Prophecy is Milton’s Pardise Lost which Browne utilizes as a potential key to the end of the world. Also the ancient war in heaven that lead to Lucifer’s downfall continues in The Paradise Prophecy, and pits angels versus angels here on Earth today.
Browne reinvents and embellishes some established thriller pastiches in the worlds of religion, eschatology and angelology. The Paradise Prophecy pushes along quickly, throwing in dashes of action and detail here and there. There is plenty of jetting around, scene and locale changes, but they oddly felt half filled out, more hastily portrayed than immersive and ambiance laden.
The characters are interesting, but not compelling. Batty has flashes of Lovecraftian torment, burdened with secrets and turgid intelligence. Callahan is no-nonsense, a straight forward foot soldier, following the clues and taking no crap.
When one of the main characters reveals a secret tormented history and power, the revelation is so deadpan it is thoroughly anti-climatic. Dropped into the logic pattern of the story, the revelation’s gravitas is lessened by tissue thin resistance by other characters.
And the book’s climax unwinds like a mash-up of Dan Brown and Stan Lee, was just too silly and not ominous enough for a battle to decide the fate of mankind.
The Paradise Prophecy had shortcomings which, unfortunately, it did not overcome.
The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne was received for free for review by Boston Book Bums