Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: Warrior Monk’s Keating in the Spirit of Dan Brown

by Todd Rutherford
The Publishing Guru
February 1, 2011

Ray Keating’s Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is a thrilling, even breath-taking roller coaster ride through the Vatican, the CIA, with assassinations and more. In the spirit of Dan Brown, Keating creates a character just as memorable and complex as Brown’s Robert Langdon.

Keating’s expertise and research on the topic shines through his scenes and in the unfolding of the plot. It is often said that the best literary characters drive the plot, and Warrior Monk is a prime example.

Pastor Stephen Grant is a former CIA assassin, a programmed cold-blooded killer who does his deeds for the good of society—nevertheless he’s a killer. His first instincts are to kill rather than to forgive. Given his background, it’s fascinating to see how Stephen Grant adjusts to being a pastor and interacts with individuals who are “so easily spitting out the most personal and too often dark aspects of their lives, not to mention they even sought his guidance.”

Pastor Stephen Grant’s predicament is unique. When a shooting occurs at his beloved church, he finds himself having to reprogram himself; he must become the assassin he once was in order to restore an environment of safety to St. Mary’s and to protect the Pope.

The shooting at the church sets off a whirlwind of events transforming Pastor Stephen Grant into a gun-wielding, Bible-reading warrior monk. Conjure the image of a man willing to kill for the CIA—as an occupation—and the steps he must take to rid the evil from his own church. In one swift motion, Stephen Grant’s world is turned upside-down: “the two worlds merged in a flurry of bullets, blood, song and prayer.”

One passage that captures the spirit and intrigue of the book is, “Grant learned enough about human nature to know that evil existed and protection was necessary.” This passage is in response to Grant’s hidden gun cabinet in the church. When Grant’s CIA career and his life as a pastor merge into one, the story takes an exciting turn, which has Grant risking his life and overcoming one obstacle after the other in order to protect the Vatican and the Pope.

Anyone that enjoys a good thriller will relish the opportunity to read this book. Pastor Stephen Grant is a character that will live on in literature, lore and leave the reader anticipating the next Stephen Grant novel.

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