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on 12 October 2012
"The Trinity Game" (which came out on July 31, 2012) is one of the many books written by Sean Chercover and published by Amazon's imprint, Thomas and Mercer. It's a story about a priest, Daniel Byrne, who works for the Vatican investigating reports of alleged miracles. The problem is he has an uncle, Tim Trinity, who's a con artist televangelist making a living off false miracles.

Actually, Trinity is more than just an uncle, given that he raised Daniel after Daniel's parents died when he was just a baby. But growing up with a grifter left Daniel angry and degraded. So, in an act of rebellion against his televangelist caregiver, does he turn to nipple rings and drugs? No. Instead he becomes a Catholic priest.

As a priest, the now Father Byrne works with the Office of Devil's Advocate. The office of Devil's Advocate (in this novel anyway) exists to expose false claims of miracles and confirm true ones. Daniel has taken up an assignment there with the hopes that one day his investigations will turn up a true miracle. If they do, he hopes he will be able to believe again.

What he doesn't expect is for the true miracle to come through his con artist uncle, forcing him to reconnect with Tim Trinity in order to investigate and expose his miraculous powers of precognition.

But Trinity, as it turns out, is as confused by his newfound powers as Daniel is. During services, Trinity goes into a trance and speaks in tongues, but when a recording of the tongues is played backward at one-third speed, it comes out as deadly accurate predictions told in perfect English.

This miraculous clairvoyance leads people to the Reverend Trinity in droves. He predicts the winning lottery numbers and tells everyone what those numbers are; he predicts horse races, and disasters, and the weather.

There seems to be no stopping his fame and inevitable power in light of his enlightenment, so the powers-that-be determine Trinity is too dangerous to live. They figure if he keeps telling people what will happen, it will destroy the power structures and moneymaking systems of the world. Thus the Vatican, as well as the mob (interesting bedfellows indeed), set out to assassinate him.

The book is interesting to read, but it's got some problems. In one part there's a secret intelligence agency run by young priests who are computer hackers and are able to bring up any personal information that is needed or requested. That addition to the story comes across as hokey and a merely convenient device for getting needed information into the story to make the plot work out.

Then there's this seemingly omnipotent world organization that makes a cameo appearance to help Daniel. Its sole purpose is to see that "good" prevails in the world. Again, this seems like a ridiculous insert into a story that can't stand up without it. Not to mention, Trinity, himself, is portrayed as a bumbling almost stupid character that converts to the true religion of love and good works, way too easily.

And of course there's a sexy female news reporter covering the whole thing against her bosses wishes (If it matters, her name is Julia.). A bit too ironically, Daniel broke up with Julia to join the priesthood and now has a hard time (and I use the term deliberately) maintaining his oath of celibacy whenever he comes in contact with her.

Apparently, the young celibate priest must struggle against his erections or the story just isn't sexy enough for modern audiences. And in this service, Chercover never fails to mention Daniel's inter-trouser tensions during his interludes with Julia. It becomes embarrassing to read.

Would I recommend this book? No. However "The Trinity Game" is interesting and suspenseful in parts, and the power plays and politics between priests and bishops is exciting to experience. The chapters are short, the pacing is fast, and Chercover is an experienced veteran within the action thriller genre. Not to mention, it's available in all formats and if you're an e-book reader reader, you'll find the Kindle pricing refreshing at less than five dollars. If you like religi-politico thrillers, and you have a strong ability to suspend your disbelief, you'll enjoy "The Trinity Game."
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on 1 August 2012
Trinity Game is fast-paced, engrossing and really original page-turner. From a crazy premise (vatican detective investigating his crooked TV evangelist uncle) the book takes you on a wild ride to a thrilling finale. I suspect it's a bit of a marmite book - you either love or hate this sort of thing. Personally I loved it and couldn't put it down. Way more action and intrigue than a dan brown - 5 stars.
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on 13 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I rarely read mysteries or crime novels - I'm not really a fan. I picked up The Trinity Game because I enjoy most things that have a hint of the paranormal, and was glad I did, it was a truly terrific read, a fast moving thriller with an intriguing premise, a crime thriller with a supernatural twist that hooks you and doesn't let go. My only complaint is that my favourite character, the best character, doesn't make it to the end. Such a waste, but a demise that was always on the cards.

It's hard to say much more without spoiling the plot. The Trinity Game is not especially unique or original - Religious investigators, supposed miracles, Vatican shenanigans and double dealings have been fashionable since the Da Vinci Code - but Sean Chercover twists the usual premise and sets it amongst the show-preachers of the American South, adding great atmosphere, and he's a much better writer than Dan Brown.

It's not great literature but it's not meant to be, it's a hell of a page-turner, with enough twists to keep you guessing. Thoroughly enjoyable nonsense which I highly recommend. I look forward to the sequel.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I first started reading this novel I felt that the idea was cliched; Catholic priest with a questionable background, hints of a dark side, hints of not very priestly conduct before he finally took the pledge, dodgy uncle who was suddenly a messenger of God, conspiracies involving shadowy elements of the Catholic church, other equally shadowy organisations hinted at, esoteric religions and of course government.

I felt that this was just going to be too obvious a story after reading the promo material. To a certain extent it was with characters that threatened to become three dimensional but not quite making it. But Chercover kept the pace high, the tension going and this turned into a reasonable read. There's potential for a second novel to resolve some of the plotlines that were left unresolved and possibly a third as well.

It'll be interesting to see where the character of Daniel Byrnne goes. A friend of mine would have described this as "mind candy", just enough to keep you interested but not intellectually stretching, and that's what it was. It passed a few easy hours.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Every time someone declares a miracle the Vatican sends out investigators to investigate and disprove them.

When a TV evangelist, Tim Trinity, claims to have the ability of fore-sight and his predictions come true the Vatican sends Daniel Byrne to investigate. The problem is that Byrne is the nephew of Trinity and knows that he is nothing more than a con-artist. Yet his predictions seem to be the real deal.

When a journalist, Julia Rothman, publicises his latest predictions, she makes Trinity a target of the mob, and uncle and nephew must flee. The FBI want to talk to Trinity to see how he knew what was going to happen and if he was involved, and the Vatican have dispatched a new investigator.

Byrne and Trinity decide to try to discover why Trinity suddenly the power of prediction.

It is a good idea (not necessarily original, but little is these days) and the book is well written and has a good pace, but I did feel it was lacking a certain oomph in the ending. Yet it is still a good read and enjoyable.
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on 27 December 2012
It was cheap and I was tempted. I didn't expect much and was pleasantly surprised; I did enjoy this novel. The plot is a bit predictable, although I was wrong a number of times. The descriptions of life after Katrina and the ongoing rebuild of New Orleans was very good. I liked the troubled Danny and Tim, the preacher. This seemed like an introduction to a series of thrillers to me; easy reading for a lazy sunday afternoon or on holiday.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2012
This is essentially a book about the power of faith over scepticism.

Daniel Byrne is basically an investigator for the Vatican who debunks claims of miracles. When a TV evangelist - Tim Trinity - starts predicting the future, Daniel is sent to investigate.

It just so happens that Trinity is Daniel's estranged uncle and is known to be a conman, but somehow Daniel ends up on the run trying to save Trinity's life.

So much for the plot - this had me baffled for a long while, as there seemed to be a number of over-complicated strands that really didn't need to be there.

The central plot line of Daniel and Trinity is great and hangs together well. Unfortunately, it's crowded out by too much other stuff. There's a fantastic and very intriguing book in here fighting to get out. Think it could have done with a better edit.
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on 18 July 2013
`The Trinity Game' is a slick read that had me gripped from close to the opening. To begin, there is an assassination attempt and from there, we skip back a short while to find out how about the events that led up to this moment.

Daniel Byrne is a priest who works for an agency of the Catholic church. Essentially, he's the man who is sent for to investigate and expose fraudulent claims of miracles. His boss gives him the challenge of investigating his own uncle, a phoney con man of a preacher who brought Daniel up as if he were his own son.

Daniel relishes the possibility of bringing down the uncle who exposed him to so much that wasn't true. The thing is, that whilst Tim Trinity (the aforementioned uncle) is speaking in tongues, he's actually making predictions that come true - record his sermons and play his `speaking in tongues' backwards and the messages can be clearly understood. Daniel is surprised by this as it runs counter to the information he's been provided.

Trinity's predictions come in all shapes and sizes. He offers race winners, football scores, on the one hand and warnings of dangerous explosions on the other.

I've never considered the consequences of what might happen if someone could see into the future, but Sean Chercover clearly has. The mob aren't happy because of the implications for the gambling industry. The church isn't happy because their own god cult will be undermined. The government can't settle because of the possible exposure of their motivations to maintain the status quo. The economic drives of society might be seriously challenged were god to offer insights and messages on morality. In short, there are a lot of agencies who might want to silence Tim Trinity using any means at their disposal.

Chercover has created outstandingly well crafted characters for this story, fully formed people with interesting histories that are interesting in themselves. He's also found big enough scope to allow a reader to focus upon a number of issues - the lengths the swine of the press will go to uncover a pearl; elected governments and their uneasy relationship with freedom of speech; the ambiguities of national security; institutional racism' sexism; and general hypocrisy. This is gently done and only adds to the complexities and pleasure that can be derived from the story. There is plenty to provoke thought, but my eyes were always focussed on what might happen next and the eventual outcome.

I was completely wrapped up in the book and bought the entire premise. It's a tremendous creation that offers far more than your average page-turner.

As I sprinted to the end, I thing I'd been so taken in that I'd begun to expect there'd be a revelation of some kind that might be life-changing. Maybe there'd be a customised messaged that would help me find a path to follow. Of course, the author couldn't provide that and, instead, he stuck to his job by tying up all the loose ends in the story and making sure the whole thing is bullet proof.

I really enjoyed it and urge you to give it your attention.
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a reader I am irritated by sweepingly dismissive reviews; they need some justification. As a grateful recipient of Amazon Vine products, I feel a responsibility to provide a considered review of any book. The Trinity Game, I am sorry to say, has tested me to the limit.

I also have a problem in not wishing to reveal an important plot element. In this case, I will restrict myself to saying that the matter of Speaking in Tongues is investigated - and exposed - with a technique I find simply unbelievable. As is the actual achievement in the first place. So, too, the coincidental relationship between the investigator and the evangelist "who just happens to be his estranged uncle."

The Trinity Game seems like an attempt to ride the wave of popularity for The Da Vinci Code. I didn't like that, either, but clearly many did. This is just one reader's record of disappointment.
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on 8 August 2012
I have seen the low scores on other reviews, but just cannot agree with them. The writing is excellent, and the flaws that others have identified are just not there. A good read - I have been neglecting my friends because of this book!
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