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FINAL CROSSING is not a bad thriller. (Yeah, I know, that sounds like a tepid endorsement at best, but stick with me.) It’s got enough religious symbolism and spiritual kookiness for the average Dan Brown or Brad Meltzer fan, but without the convoluted conspiracies. It’s got just enough romance and just enough action, with a whiff of the supernatural. It’s a little bit political, but it’s not a “political thriller.” The fate of the world isn’t at stake, though there is some question of whether the main plot will derail the political subplot. It has a serial killer, who might have seemed dated if it weren’t for this and this and this and this and this

The book switches, as many of its genre do, between the killer and the “hero.” Jonas Osbourne isn’t supposed to be the hero. He’s supposed to be the Chief of Staff for a US Senator. He’s supposed to be focused on his boss’s upcoming Peace Accord between Israel and Palestine. And he’s been doing what he was supposed to do for so long, everything in his life — except his romantic relationships — has been humming along like a train approaching the summit. Until… Isn’t that always the way? Until. His “until moment” is stopping to help a motorist, getting hit by a car, and jarring loose some memories of his Ranger days that he’d rather stay forgotten.

Meanwhile, our serial killer is using anagrams in gay personals to find a victim he hopes will be “the One.” Cause, see, his God’s telling him if he crucifies the right person, he’ll trigger the Rapture and isn’t that what good religious fanatics with a touch of autism and a traumatic childhood really want?

It turns out the Senator knows the first crucified victim and while Jonas, stepping in for the Senator who can’t make it, delivers his kind words he finds himself being checked out. FBI consultant Anne Denevue has her eye on Jonas for reasons personal and professional. Professionally, she senses he’s connected to the killing and that the memories that have resurfaced might be the key. Personally, she finds him attractive, but annoying and guarded, the latter being as much a professional problem as she tries to get at what lies below the surface.

Pros: It’s a quick read that easily sucked me in. The father is a nice touch and Jonas’s relationship with him and the other residents of the Alzheimer’s facility is a perfect humanizing balance to the guarded guy in the expensive suits and the hero complex. The killer is believable enough and the jabs at politics and modern life were fun.

Cons: The descriptions of Rudy’s childhood kidnapping ordeal and the flashbacks to the Mog build nicely in the beginning, but become a tad repetitive by the end.

Contains: Lots of blood, but not a lot of medical descriptions or details. Off-stage sex. Appropriate course language. (Which means there’s cussing, cursing, and “naughty language.”)

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