Review: The Paradise Prophecy / Author: Robert Browne / Publisher: SIGNET / Release Date: Out Now
In this globe-trotting adventure, a Brazilian pop idol apparently burns herself to death, and kick-ass US spy Bernadette Callahan is sent to investigate. It's all a bit of a puzzler, until she teams up with religious historian and psychic Sebastian LaLaurie. Soon they're uncovering a plot by a group of fallen angels to end the world as we know it.
The storyline is silly and convoluted in a Dan Brown-ish way, with a broad fantasy element thrown in. As ever, the key to what is going on lies in the work of a celebrated historical personage – this time, the poet John Milton. Robert Browne makes heroic efforts to give this dusty schoolroom figure a bit of sexiness. (He hated the monarchy! He met Galileo! He had long hair!) But a guy who wrote a big old poem that bores the crap out of you is never going to be as interesting as someone like Da Vinci, who did cool stuff like inventing the helicopter. It all ends in a good-versus-evil showdown that's just begging for celestial choir sound effects.
The saving grace of the book is Browne's writing, which is nicely nuanced, and the pairing of Callahan and LaLaurie, who push each other's buttons in a sparky manner. But with fictional angels becoming as common as pigeons right now, you can't help but wish these two lively characters were in a more gritty and down-to-earth story. Still, decent airport fodder.