After the phenomenal success of “The Da Vinci Code,” anybody with a lick of common sense knew there’d be a slew of that sort of thing to follow, from Dan Brown and others, and that certainly has been the case.
“The Geneva Deception” by James Twining is among them. It’s solidly cast in the Da Vinci mold, with the Catholic church, the Vatican Bank and a shadowy fraternal organization all playing major roles. (And having been raised a liberal Protestant, I have to say I always suspected this sort of behavior from the Catholic church. Just kidding.)
There’s an American sort-of federal agent, a plucky Italian policewoman, art and art experts and even a Las Vegas tie, featuring a gaming mogul who seems to be a cross between two or three of our more recognizable characters. There are the obligatory chases, by vehicle and on foot, around various Italian (and a few American) landmarks, codes, cyphers and on and on.
So yes, “The Geneva Deception” does clearly represent its genre. But you know what? The best books of that genre have page after page of edge-of-the-seat suspense, and that’s definitely the case here.
The scenes and the players may be somewhat familiar but the action is original and riveting, and there’s nothing deceptive about that.