Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Robin Cook is the creator – and master – of the medical thriller and his latest novel, Death Benefit, doesn’t disappoint. Often legal thrillers – John Grisham’s spring to mind – are a little predictable but this story is full of surprises, especially as it nears its dénouement. As always with Cook, there is a moral to the story, this time the questionable antics of Wall Street whizz kids who buy up life insurance polices from people so desperate for cash they’ll sell for a pittance.

There is the inevitable cat and mouse chase – baddies vs. goodies – but with more twists and turns than the road to Katmandu. Cook manages to explain complex medical conditions in a language most readers should understand. A text book it isn’t and fiction it is, but, like those Cook novels before it, Death Benefit will teach you a little something you didn’t know about the intricacies of medical science.

It’s a riveting read, a roller-coaster of a journey and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Darryl Greer

Author, The Election

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The chance discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Bedouin at Qumran in Israel in 1947 was of great religious and historical significance as they, and subsequent finds up to 1956, included the oldest known surviving copies of biblical and non-biblical documents. One of those found, the Isaiah Scroll, is 1,000 years older than any previously known copy of the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It is estimated that the documents were written between 150 BC and 70 AD. The period is significant, especially to Christians, given that it is widely accepted by most scholars that Jesus of Nazareth lived and died within that period. The scrolls are mostly in Hebrew and Aramaic, the latter the accepted language of Jesus.

Jack Scully’s book Eyewitness is a fictional account of the modern-day discovery at Qumran, of a two-thousand-year-old scroll which gives an eyewitnesses account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Against the background of the factual discovery, and significance, of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Scully’s tale is entirely believable. You don’t have to be religious or even spiritually inclined to enjoy this action-adventure novel. It tells the tale of an American archaeological team which is in the Qumran area searching for ancient treasures. Unlike earlier teams, they use computerised imaging equipment to assist with their search. They have reason to believe that many artifacts from Jerusalem’s Second Temple period were transferred to Qumran before the Romans destroyed the temple in 70AD.

This book could not be written without a considerable amount of research. Scully knows his stuff and not only in the biblical sense. He portrays the story and its characters in a manner which demonstrates something more than a keen interest in the extra-biblical history of the region, its people, language and culture.

The book appears to have been self-published and while it sits neatly into the difficult-to-put-down category, it would have benefited from a professional edit – there are a few too many ‘typos.’ Yet it is a brilliant effort, thought provoking, thrilling, surprising and just plain entertaining.

Darryl Greer

Author, “The Election”