Vianvi Podcast Book Review #18 by Viga Boland, author & book reviewer
Glenn Starkey never ceases to amaze! The author of six brilliant books, each of them impossible to put down, Starkey’s latest, Solomen’s Men, will have you turning pages faster than you can count. And if you dare to pick up Solomen’s Men before retiring at night, be prepared to be reliving the rapidly unfolding plot and encountering the characters, both sinister and good, throughout your dreams.
The protagonist, Greg Valdez, is a very wealthy thief, with a military past. His mentally unstable wife committed suicide when she could no longer cope with her life and their autistic son, Daniel, whom Greg loves and whom he will go to the ends of the earth to protect.
When Greg takes on what is to be his last big job, that of stealing an ancient crusader’s pouch buried inside an altar in a Portugese monastery, he is relentlessly pursued by Solomen’s Men, a select group of twenty-one monks as skilled in military combat as he is, prepared to kill the thief to retrieve the sacred pouch. But they aren’t the only ones on Valdez’ tail. When he decides the pouch should be returned to its rightful owners, thereby double-crossing those who hired him, hired killers come at him from every corner. When this group kidnaps Daniel and his nurse, Greg’s only goal is to save his son. As the race to find him speeds up, the plot action intensifies to a climax bloodied by the bodies of both good and bad, and the true power of what is hidden in the pouch is nothing short of a miracle that could turn non-believers into believers.
Apart from Starkey’s incredible skill in developing an intricate plot and his expert familiarity with military tactics that give his novels complete credibility, it’s Starkey’s wondrous ability to create truly human characters that stays with readers as much as the engrossing, action-filled plot. Greg Valdez is so real, so believable. So are, surprisingly, Solomen’s Men, religious to the core, but capable of killing to fulfill their commitment to their faith. Every person in Solomen’s Men lives, thinks, breathes just like the rest of us and we accept them, even those we’d hope never to meet in our own lives. And as every good novelist should, Starkey balances good with evil and lets readers come away completely satisfied. This is superb writing.
On a personal note, I first met Glenn Starkey when I read and reviewed his beautiful book, Black Sun, which reduced me to tears. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Mr. Charon, one of his most popular books and plan to read all of his books as time permits. Which will eventually be my favorite remains to be seen, but right now, Solomen’s Men, along with Black Sun, is right at the top of my list. Thanks for another brilliant read, Glenn Starkey.