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on 13 January 2018
I had such high hopes for this book, and really enjoyed it until the last few chapters when the writer clearly didn't know how to end it, instead resorting to a short, almost cursory 'a few weeks later' kind of conclusion. Also the fact that one of the protagonists finishes the story thinking they've uncovered the truth and laid it to rest (and in doing so finding peace with it), when in fact they're unwittingly living a devastating and horrific lie is beyond depressing. Why do that? I get why certain truths weren't admitted to them in the story, but it could have just as easily concluded without those devastating events occurring at all, since the character never found out anyway. The reader would at least have felt there was a decent wrapping-up and that it was worth the hours spent reading the book. As it was I finished it unsatisfied and quite disappointed. I know lots of stories necessarily conclude in a way we don't like (favourite characters die, or dreams are left unfulfilled, etc), but in this case there was no need to go in that direction. It didn't add to the story, it lessened it.

The other irritant was the writer's endless showing-off of his knowledge of guns. We really didn't need to be told the full technical specs, size, weight and brand name every time someone drew their weapon. It was distracting and annoying. There was some great dialogue and well-written action scenes, but they were let down by the unnecessarily miserable conclusion.
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on 8 November 2017
This is an extremely well-crafted story, written with skill by an author on top form. Never straying outside the bounds of credibility, yet convincingly exploring a theme that could easily be dismissed as ridiculous in lesser hands, the plot keeps up a gripping pace. I'll be reading more of Adam Blake's work.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 May 2012
While there is something to be said for the argument that another thriller touting conspiracies about the life and death of Jesus and his disciples is as unwelcome as a gift-wrapped artichoke, The Dead Sea Deception manages to soar above these doubts, breathing new spirit into a clichéd genre. There are several reasons for this - not least Adam Blake's excellent writing and plotting skills - but chief among them for me are the two leads: mercenary Leo Tillman and London police officer Heather Kennedy. Neither character is perfect, in fact both are deeply flawed, with demons on their shoulders, but their determined, painful progress to uncover the truth is compelling and disturbing.

Tillman is a mercenary with a mission of his own - to discover the fate of his wife and two sons who disappeared 13 years ago. Kennedy is an unpopular cop, tormented by her colleagues for something in her past, now tasked with looking after dead end cases. Both are thrown together by the clues left behind from the murder of an academic, well-known for his work with an obscure Dead Sea Scrolls document, the Rotgut Codex. Tillman and Kennedy uncover a trail of victims, all involved in deciphering the Codex, which, it becomes clear, hides something that would not only threaten the place of Christianity in our past but its revelation could put the future of a great many people at risk.

From its opening pages on a field strewn with the debris and horrors of a plane crash, The Dead Sea Deception follows clues across Britain, the US and into Mexico, bringing Tillman and Kennedy closer together as they realise that this case may hold the answer to the mystery that has plagued Tillman for years. And, all the time, Kennedy and Tillman are persecuted by previous colleagues as well as pursued by a succession of obsessed almost supernatural strangers who defy pain and weep tears of blood.

The Dead Sea Deception entertains as a thriller should. The mystery surrounding the Codex and the origin and motivation of the men and women with bloody tears is enough to keep you turning the pages fast, but Heather Kennedy is a deeply intriguing heroine. She suffers almost in silence and we just pick up on little pieces of her pain. The revelations about her character and about her place in the police force aren't handed to us on a plate - they require interest on our part to pick up. There are moments in her story that made my heart pound and there aren't too many thrillers that can move me to tears on a bus.

Likewise, Leo Tillman is introduced to us in a shocking manner and there are points in the story when he is driven to the depths of despair. Not that we are allowed to intrude too much. Adam Blake is careful with his characters; he treats them with respect. I'm pleased to say that even the baddies are permitted a certain amount of ambivalence in their portrayal. There are undertones of horror in the background too. This is a world in which ghosts could walk.

There is a sensationalist element but when the writing's as good as this and the characters are as intriguing, it's not too much of a hardship to surrender to it. It's always good to discover a new author who writes intelligent thrillers and so I was delighted to learn that Kennedy and Tillman will return - The Demon Code will be published in August this year.
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on 31 October 2017
A,bit disappointed at the cut off at the end. I love this genre of stories and Adam Blake is up there with the best of them. Looking forward to reading the next book.
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on 13 March 2018
I found the plot and characters interesting but am somewhat doubtful about the incidents of death and destruction surrounding the lead characters and their improbable survival through them all. For me, the bad guys were believable within the confines of the story and the final explanation of the method of their continued survival was a real twist. Held back on 5 stars as I thought it was just a bit too long and tedious in places.
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on 4 October 2017
To much talk ...not enough action....no mention of Christ's death....too many unanswered questions . plot unbelievable ...very disappointed ...prefer more biblical data
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on 22 May 2012
...is how the saying goes. Another, always take people's reviews (including this one) with a healthy pinch of salt. I say this because these two factors influenced my decision to purchase the book - two reasons that, in this case, proved a little deceptive.

My main complaint about the book is the prominence on the front cover of the words:

"Everything we know about the death of Christ is a lie.."

Now I don't know about you, but that is a pretty decent hook to catch me with for a fiction book - very Dan Brownish - an author whose works I enjoy despite the criticism he encounters. But the book didn't, for my liking, go into anywhere enough detail into this area - which I found very disappointing considering it's plastered over the front cover.

What you get instead is a decent, if unremarkable, cop chasing baddies, baddies chasing cops etc. The story did flow well, keeping me interested for the most part - though the book did seem a tad long to me. But there were no shock moments. The only surprise being the lack of any real development of the Christ theme (IMHO).

Some of the phrases of the book made wince a little, such as one character having to keep moving in life or, like a shark, die.

I wasn't sure whether to give this two or three stars. I went for the latter because at least the story progressed at a reasonable pace, particularly in the first half. Not a bad effort, but in future I will stick to my usual suspects of Dan Brown, Steve Berry or Michael Cordy for this type of book. Unless, of course, Adam Blake (a pseudonym for a best selling author apparently) is one of these three writers!
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on 9 May 2012
"One of the thoughts that went through his mind as Sheriff Gayle listened ... was that this seven-dollar sundae was now surely going to waste".

I knew right from the start that this was a book I was going to enjoy. Blake has manage to build up the lives of the main characters, many of who are damaged goods, while at the same time develop a fast paced thriller that stretches from London to Arizona and Mexico.

It is based on the premise that the Judas Gospel contains a hidden subtext or code that must not be revealed to anyone who isn't part of this ancient tribe. To protect this secret the emissaries of this group are prepared to murder without any compunction.

What starts out as a misclassified accidental death of a professor becomes a race against time for Heather Kennedy, a London policewoman with her own demons to shoulder, before this sect can achieve their goal. Kennedy is damaged goods and is handed this apparent dead end case with the hope both it and her can be kicked into the long grass and forgotten about. But if that were to happen there would be no story.
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on 7 May 2012
I was attracted to the novel by its title and the strap line "Everything we know about the death of Christ is a lie". I can't say that the novel fulfills that broadcast at all. I like a good mystery/action novel but I also like a certain amount of credibility - accepting that it's all fiction anyway.There were times when that credibility was stretched and basic errors irritated a little.

For example, the hero jumps from a ferry in the English channel into cold sea, has a knife wound in his side which won't stop bleeding and he has to swim 10 miles to the shore fully clothed. After that he breaks into a pharmacy and a shop to get medicines and supplies without setting off any alarms and amazingly, he still has his wallet with a wad of notes in useable condition. Does anyone else think any of this feasible? Also a police officer calls an English Police patrol car a black and white. The hero steals a 14 wheeler truck and blows up the petrol tank. How many big trucks have petrol tanks - aren't they all diesel?

You might think these are minor problems but they spoiled it for me, although it is generally well written and a good story and if you can put up with errors and leaps of credibility, then you will have a good read.
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on 7 April 2012
The Dead Sea Deception, by Adam Blake, is about a sect, the Judas people, who are descended from Judas Iscariot, and who have been secretly living alongside the rest of humanity since the time of the death of Christ. Their story has been a secret until a new translation of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls threatens to reveal them. In order to stop the truth coming out, representatives of the Judas sect kill the members of the team responsible for the translations. The deaths are investigated by a detective from London, whose enquiries eventually put her into contact with a secret agent who is also investigating the sect because of the kidnap of his wife and children. Together, they set out to track down the killers and to learn more about the sect. The story is fast moving, moving seamlessly from London to Arizona and eventually to Mexico. The conclusion is exciting, and I found it hard to put the book down. I recommend it, and hope this author writes some more novels like this one!
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