|Books of Secrets is the fourteenth book by
Chris Roberson, but his first in the Angry Robot imprint.
For reasons of my own, namely
that I was enjoying the books that I had read in the Angry Robot imprint and that Mr
Roberson was an experienced author, I was expecting a better than average, well written
story. I was disappointed.
Book of Secrets starts as a standard journalistic detective
story. The viewpoint character is a detective who is researching an opinion piece on a
vaguely tainted, local worthy and gets a promising lead on some dirt. The book then
becomes a road story, replete with back stories (what is this fascination with back
stories?), interspersed with a series of stories about a character known as the Black Hand
who shares a family name with the viewpoint character. Near the end the story takes a path
much less travelled and flirts, nay, copulates in public with a brand of Gnosticism that
smells strongly of Roman Catholicism (the censer-swinging chorus line from the Society of
Jesus it took as a clue). And the book dribbled on to its ending.
Somewhere in the mishmash that was Book of Secrets there was a
really good story waiting to be told. This time around the author decided not to tell that
story, but presented this muddle instead.