Book Review: According to Luke

According to Luke Rosanne Dingli- According to Luke (2011)

Synopsis: (From Goodreads) Shattered by the breakdown of yet another romance, Jana Hayes becomes a recluse in her tiny Venice apartment and buries herself in her work as an expert art conservator … until an ancient religious icon brings Roman Catholic priest Rob Anderson into her life.

The secret they discover hidden in the mysterious artefact turns out to be not only devastating, but deadly. And it has the star-crossed couple running for their lives across Europe and the Middle East, pursued by three ruthless opposing factions, each for its own reason determined to torture and kill to lay hands on the world-shaking evidence uncovered.

While Rob struggles with his priestly vows and Jana with an overbearing billionaire mother who holds the purse strings to an outrageous ransom demand, they discover, with the help of an ageing genius symbologist, more and more damning revelations about one of the New Testament’s most sacred gospel writers – and as the evidence mounts, the stakes rise and the blood flows.

Review: This is the first book I have read from the crime thriller genre and I wasn’t quite sure whether it would keep me interested but I was pleasantly surprised.

Jana is an expert art conservator from Australia who is doing a stint in Venice. Newly single, Jana is quite happy residing on her own, in her tiny Venetian apartment. She loves her job and especially loves living on the other side of the world away from her high achieving mother, Felicity.

Jana comes across an ancient religious icon that will change her life forever. One evening whilst walking home from work, she is mugged and the information she has collated on the artefact is stolen. Jana’s colleague is then murdered and it becomes clear that her life may be in danger and the secret they uncover about the icon could bring down the Catholic Church. With mysterious Australian priest, Rob by her side they embark on an adventure as they discover something about Saint Luke that the Catholics want hidden and the Muslims want to expose. Jana and Rob recruit symbolist Bryn and Jana’s millionaire mother Felicity which adds interesting dimensions to the story. They hightail across Italy, Malta and Syria to find answers and to keep the icon safe while also risking their lives.

I particularly like the relationship development between Jana and Rob. Although their feelings do develop quickly, it does seem really natural and I completely get their attraction. Rob struggles with his faith and religious responsibilities while Jana tries to open her mindset to the possibilities beyond science. Bryn, the Welshman is the intelligent mentor for the duo and Felicity’s appearance on the scene makes the foursome a dynamic team who all bring their own knowledge and skills to manage their dilemma.

Jana is a likeable, independent woman and I sympathised for Rob’s turmoil between his beliefs and his very real feelings for Jana.

It was quite an engaging read with plenty of action, suspense and the underpinning love story definitely gave this novel a well-rounded
plot. After relaying the plot to my partner, he seems to think it is along the
lines of a Steve Berry or Dan Brown novel (which I haven’t read), so if you are
into these kinds of books then you will probably really enjoy According to
Luke. Or if like me you don’t tend to read from this genre then this might be
a nice introduction.

4/5 rating

 According to Luke can be purchased in paperback from Fishpond (free delivery in Aus) and Amazon or for your Kindle.

* Thank you to the author who provided a print copy for review.

About the author: (from her website): Rosanne Dingli is an award-winning Western Australian novelist, author of Death in Malta, According to Luke, six collections of short stories and a book of collected poems. She has had numerous articles, stories, reviews, columns and poems published Australia-wide and on the internet since 1986. She has worked as teacher, lecturer, workshop coordinator, magazine and corporate editor, travel consultant, cook, manuscript assessor, heraldic artist and business partner. She has travelled widely in Italy, the UK, Turkey, Greece, South East Asia, Holland, and Belgium, as well as most Australian states.

Rosanne Dingli previously featured as a guest post on The Australian Bookshelf where she talks about being On location: An author’s trip.

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