Book Note: The Genesis Secret

The Houston Public Library operates a branch at Discovery Green.  Since I have to be at the park most Thursdays, when I plan ahead and order books, that HPL outpost certainly makes picking them up easy.

Last week, I arrived earlier than usual for the show, so wandered in to see whether I could find anything to read.  The space, very small, holds about 2 bookshelves for all adult reading, which meant about a shelf each of novels and biographies.

Notably, books on interviewing, resumes, finding a job, and the like filled almost three shelves, reflecting, I suppose, the particular interests of the regular patrons.  Most of them appeared to be using the library primarily as a place to soak up the air conditioning, and I don’t blame them one bit, but a few did appear to be working on resumes and looking at job postings. That made me wonder about the possibility of co-locating homeless services with libraries, but that topic deserves its own post.

The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox jumped out at me – perfect beach reading.  Yes, downtown is about 45 miles from the beach, but IT WAS FREAKING HOT last week, and so humid you could practically wash fruit by waving it through the air, so beach reading seemed appropriate.

Having just read a book that revolves around a cult dedicated to hiding a relic that proves the existence of God, I laughed when I realized the plot of The Genesis Secret revolves around a cult determined to hide a secret that would prove there is no God.  Coincidence or fate?

A journalist recovering from a near-miss suicide bomb attack in Iraq goes to visit Gobekli Tepe, an archaeological site in Turkish Kurdistan.  His editor hopes the story will be a rest, but of course, no such luck.  After uncovering something sinister at the dig, he crosses paths with a dangerous cabal of trust fund Satanists dashing about the UK committing human sacrifices as they search for a mysterious black book that is somehow connected to the mystery of Gobekli Tepe.

As with much of what I’ve read lately, The Genesis Secret will not be joining the canon of literary greats any time soon, but I enjoyed it.  I could gripe about a few things, but won’t.  Instead, I will say how delighted I was to consult the book’s website once I was done reading.’

The website outlines what’s real and what’s not in the book, which I always appreciate knowing.  Even better, however, it turns out that Tom Knox is really Sean Thomas, a journalist.  He’d taken a trip to Gobekli Tepe (a real place) on a lark when the work flowed more freely, and his agent made a passing comment that the story he told about the place after he returned sounded like the plot for a thriller.

Writing a thriller didn’t sound like his style until the freelance work dried up a bit a few years later.  He had more time than money, so he sequestered himself for “two adrenaline-fuelled months in a little hotel room in Bangkok” and TA-DA, now he’s the author of a thriller based on his experience, research, and vivid imagination.

I love that.  I’m trying to write a book right now, so am somewhat obsessed with authors know what to write about, and what their process looks like.  I try not to ask tedious questions about process, or even use the word process, and I’m not exactly rubbing shoulders with best-selling authors on a regular basis, so I love that because The Genesis Secret was one of 10 novels in the teeniest library annex in town, I stumbled across this story.

Go Tom Knox!  I hope someone options the movie rights so you can fully fund your retirement accounts and get a bigger room in Bangkok next time.

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