Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Bronleewe’s August Adams Follow-up a Page-turner

  • Annabelle Robertson Contributing Writer
  • 2008 18 Nov
Bronleewe’s <i>August Adams</i> Follow-up a Page-turner

Author:  Matt Bronlewee
Title:  House of Wolves
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

With another book banking on Da Vinci Code-style success, August Adams is back.  After tracking down a national treasure, saving lives and preventing the destruction of two major world religions in Illuminated, the renowned acheobibliologist has every intention of living a sedate, normal existence.  That’s before the Indiana-Jones-like adventurer takes a copy of a rare collectible, the 12th century Gospels of Henry the Lion, to his son’s school, where he lets Charlie and his classmates thumb through its pages.

In the parking lot, when August and Charlie are almost murdered, Adams realizes it might not be a copy after all.  It isn’t, and the discovery sends the pair on a perilous journey along with August’s ex-wife, who happens to be engaged to someone else.  Turns out that a secret society called "The Black Vehm" has been unsuccessfully searching for this book for centuries.  They are not alone.  Even Hitler knew of the book’s existence and did everything in his power to find it.

Now Adams has it, and the Vehm is not about to let it go.  But to save himself and his family—which may or may not include the ex-wife—Adams has to follow a trail of ancient relics, National Treasure style, which will take him around the world and back again.

Author Matt Bronleewe is a co-founding member of the hit band, Jars of Clay.  Bronlewee left the band early on and became an award-winning producer to many top names in the pop and Christian music industries.  He’s also a successful songwriter with sales of more than 20 million units.  Now, he has successfully turned to fiction.

The writing in House of Wolves is fair.  It’s a rapid, entertaining read with a credible plotline.  The best part of the book is the suspense, which is palpable.  Bronlewee manages to tie together numerous loose ends and his short, fast-paced chapters are bound to keep readers turning pages well into the night.

He could use a few edits, however—and he still needs work as a novelist.  Like many new authors, Bronleewe tends to be heavy-handed with his adjectives and adverbs, which detracts from the strength of his prose.  He also needs to study character development.  In a thriller, characters don’t need to be as profound as they do in other novels.  John Grisham understands this well.  But they do need to be believable, and while some (like Adams) are, for the most part, others (like Charlie) aren’t at all.  Earlier chapters are also much tighter than later ones—an indication that more editing would have helped.

It’s still a fun read.  Violent, at times—so don’t be caught unaware.  It isn’t gratuitous, but it’s not for the faint of heart, either.  Bronleewe spares us too many visuals on the torture scenes, for example, but not the blood or echoing screams of those who have been killed—nor the thoughts of psychotic murderers as they choose their weapons and contemplate what they will do to their victims.

If you enjoyed Illuminated, you’ll enjoy House of Wolves—and will look forward to the third book in Bronleewe’s series, The Deadly Hours, which is due next summer.  Don’t forget to check out the author’s notes at the end of the book, which distinguishes all the facts from fiction.  Very interesting indeed.