Title: Sealed Up by Steve Dunn Hanson
Publisher: Steve Dunn Hanson
On the face of it, Sealed Up looks like it could actually be a halfway decent archeology based thriller… until you realise it is “christian fiction”.written by an author whose previous works largely seem to consist of Christian Self-Help books. Well, everyone deserves a fair go I guess.
This novel is problematic, and stereotypical, putting aside the issue of the underlying sunday school punchline which the entire novel is a set up for. The ‘main character’ early on is a corrupt, over-the-top televangelist who is blatantly taking money from a Mexican cartel to fund his lavish lifestyle, under the pretext of helping some poor Mayans in Mexico. What’s not to like about him?
After some mediocre-sounding money-laundering trip across the border, he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to uncover some mysterious mcguffin which is the ultimate key to an even bigger archeological mcguffin. He needs to enlist the assistance of a (probably) atheist university professor who can lend some much-needed gravitas to the whole affair. Along for the ride is the swinging (in terms of loyalty) DEA agent Audra who is embedded in the Televangelist’s organisations for reasons which are never really made apparent. Every conversation with her superiors seem to indicate that she’s just “you know, investigatin stuff.
One of my other dislikes about this book is that the story just drags. I would say that this is about average length for a novel of this type, but there is a significant portion – about the middle third – where nothing really happens, and there is a lot of mysterious stuff going on. What makes this kind of book for me is the fast-paced action and the dramatic tension which ramps up over the course of the novel… unfortunately Sealed Up has chosen to ignore this model in favour of biblical exposition.
There are many authors out there in this space, from Matthew Reilly, to Andy McDermott… and they’re doing it so much better than Steve Dunn Hanson. This is not so much a thriller novel as a sunday sermon wrapped in an enigma, tied with a mcguffin. If that’s your thing, have at it hoss.
I received a review copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.