There are page-turners and then there are the other books, the ones that you are reading so fast the whole thing is nearly on the brink of spontaneous combustion in your hands.
If you get your hands on The Painted Messiah by Craig Smith (due for publication in March) put the oven gloves on and sit on an inflatable cushion because I got paper friction burns on my fingers and pressure sores elsewhere because I could barely move until I'd finished it.
Trust me it lives up to its claim to be a "blistering action thriller".
Things were so tense that at several points I had to remind myself to breath, and could probably have done with intubation and some intermittent positive pressure ventilation (life support machine)to get me through.
This book came courtesy of Newcastle based Myrmidon Books who have a "medium term goal to become the UK's most influential independent publisher of commercial and literary fiction outside the capital".
They are on track with this one and they will need to be at £16.99 for a hardback and £11.99 for paperback.Even though the books are going to be aesthetically pleasing, top notch paper and production and I have paid the same for lesser quality, these are going to eat large chunks out of the average book-buying budget.
That aside, this "lean and agile" publisher kindly sent me a great big fat parcel of books and this one looked quite innocent until I gave it the first few pages treatment.
I don't come across enough books like this; possibly the most recent was The Last Secret of the Temple by Paul Sussman which I also loved and needed resuscitation when I'd finished.
The book is based on the legend that,after the scourging of Christ, Pilate commanded that a picture be painted from life and that this original image of the face of Christ still exists.Cue this fast paced thriller that cuts back and forth between modern day ruthless Knights Templar in Switzerland and events in Caesarea in AD 26.
Craig Smith's research, described at the back of the book, sits lightly but informatively on the whole and the end result is a well-written book full of engaging characters and a tension that defies description. Except Craig Smith does description with ease, this book is like reading a film, you are right in there visualizing the action.Some of the high octane action scenes left me tachycardic and dyspnoeic (pulse racing and breathless...I'm sharing the medical jargon today)
Frankly it's left me in need of some intensive care and litre or two of intravenous chamomile, especially after that final denouement when I had to do a bit of a freefall parachute jump with a square canopy when I'm only trained on the round ones (health visitors are trained in everything)
This is definitely the book for that long haul flight or the arduous train journey, you'll be there in a flash, but be sure to pack the portable defibrillator just in case.