Review by John for The Knowledge of Good and Evil ~ by Glenn Kleier (ARC edition)
A fast-paced theological thriller that challenges the concepts of good, evil, God, religion and the afterlife.
About: Over forty years ago a renowned Catholic theologian mysteriously died, just as he was about to reveal great secrets he had learned after discovering a backdoor into Heaven. He said that the revelation would help bring to an end wars and the seemingly never-ending antagonism between different religions, races and cultures. It seems that his secret may have survived in a long-lost journal.
In the current day, Ian Baringer is a traumatized former priest, struggling to overcome the aftermath of a horrific accident in which his parents died horribly in order to save his life. He struggles with the Divine Paradox – how could a just God allow great evil in the world? With his faith ebbing, he spends his time obsessively trying to find concrete proof that miracles have happened and that there is a God and an afterlife. Through a near-death experience, he believes that he may have found a gateway into the afterlife that might allow him to find some answers; perhaps it’s the same gateway the dead theologian uncovered many years previously? But the journey is fraught with great danger, and to make matters worse an obscure ancient religious Order will stop at nothing to prevent secrets of the afterlife from being divulged.
Baringer and his lover, an agnostic psychiatrist, embark on a frenetic worldwide chase to track down the long-lost journal, striving to stay one step ahead of the deadly Order who seem to know of their every move. But tension is also growing between Baringer and his partner, as his mental torment pushes him to ever more extreme measures in order to find answers.
John’s thoughts: I was a little torn by this book. On the one hand I have little (or no) interest in religious matters, so I had difficulty resonating with some of the details and the content of the story. Yet on the other hand this is a very well written and exciting story which pulls the reader along. On balance the latter won out and I certainly enjoyed the read.
The story is well structured, has a good pace, and asks some big questions – which it then does a pretty good job of answering. I can imagine that many people who have set ideas about faith and their own religion might have a hard time with the book as Kleier’s answers will challenge their beliefs (and it does go into some detail describing Hell, Heaven and their inhabitants). However, as I’m a bit of a “blank canvas” in that respect I enjoyed the big ideas and the general direction that the book takes. It is very thought provoking; and Kleier does have a great imagination.
I’d rate this book 3.5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers with a religious or spiritual bent.
About Glenn Kleier: An English major intent on a career as a novelist, who upon graduation found no positions available for aspiring authors. Earning his living in an alternative field of fiction - advertising - he never lost his initial passion. After seven years working on the side, he produced The Last Day. Now, after many years of research and writing, he presents a second effort, the first in a trilogy, The Knowledge of Good & Evil. Kleier resides in Louisville, KY. Goodreads; Twitter; Website; Facebook.
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