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This One Didn't Hit Me
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."