The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass

It is no secret that the ancient Catholic Church saw years of corrupt leaders, cover-ups and conspiracies. For modern mystery and thriller authors, this storied past has provided inspiration for countless gripping tales. In The Inquisitor's Key, the latest installment in the Body Farm series by duo author Jefferson Bass, the past of the church mixes with present day themes to form a unique take on the modern thriller.

Dr. Bill Brockton is no stranger to death. He works at the Body Farm, a Tennessee based institution devoted to the study of the human anatomy, and serves as a consultant on murder cases, providing his expert analyses of human remains. As he comes to the latest crime scene, where the burned remains of a presumed drug runner lie, he can't help but miss the companionship of his usual assistant/student Miranda Lovelady, who is assisting with an excavation in Avignon, France. As he begins to study the charred remains, he notices that gas is still leaking. With barely enough time to react, the building is enveloped in flames, and Brockton narrowly escapes the same death as the poor soul he was meant to be examining. It is all but apparent that whoever created this crime scene intends for Brockton to be his next victim.

On top of this, Brockton is summoned by Miranda to come to France to assist with the excavation. When he arrives to the site, The Palace of Popes, he is faced with an extremely puzzling case. The bones that have been discovered in a subterranean chamber contain wounds that resemble those depicted in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Despite being skeptical of this, evidence points that the age of the bones are from the same time period as the life of Christ. When a composite reconstruction from the skull eerily matches the shadowy face engrained in the Shroud of Turin, said to be the burial cloth of Christ, Brockton and Miranda become caught in an international war for the ownership of the remains.

Although the sub-genre of "religious thrillers" has grown in recent years (thanks in large part to the best-selling DaVinci Code), few novels have managed to come up with a truly original story. The Inquisitor's Key finds the perfect balance between historical fact, intriguing speculation, and compelling characters. Altogether, these elements make a highly entertaining, original thriller. Even in the historical flashbacks, the authors managed to maintain the quick pace and accessible language of the "present day" sections, avoiding the pitfalls that many "historical fiction" authors find themselves in. The relationship between Brockton and Miranda comes off as completely genuine, and even the less important characters are written with enough sincerity to keep them from becoming one-dimensional. Overall, I found this novel impossible to put down and enjoyed the story to the very end. Although this was my first encounter with the Body Farm series, I was immediately drawn to the characters and their story. I highly recommend this novel to all fans of mysteries, thrillers, and historically speculative fiction.

For more information visit the author's website,, Amazon

(week 19, book 21)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass”

  1. My very favorite religious thriller is The History of the Popes (non-fiction). Did you know that one medieval pope put his dead predecessor on trial and made his rotting corpse attend the proceedings? The corpse was found guilty and unceremoniously dumped into the Tiber River.

    Incidentally, I'm going to check this book out.

  2. I have this book in my TBR stack. THANKS for the post.

    Great blog.

    Nice to meet you.



    Silver's Reviews


Powered by Blogger.