The Bone Box
Howard (Simon & Schuster), Oct 2008, $13.99
As he works in Israel with his long time friend Yigal Havner, archeologist Randall Bullock continues to grieve the death of his wife; killed by a drunken driver. Nothing interests him until Yigal informs him of a cave in at a park project in Jerusalem. The authorities need an expert to evaluate and evacuate the site. The widower agrees to lead the dig.
Israeli Antiques Authority agent Miri Sharon works alongside the American when they uncover an incredible find; a stone casket etched with "Joseph, son of Caiaphas" on the outside containing scrolls that document the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While the pair is euphoric his estranged nineteen year old daughter Tracey, expelled from Rothan College in Ohio, arrives in Jerusalem to join her dad who was never there for her; not even at her mom’s funeral as he came too late. Soon the trio is on the run from those who want their discovery interred. At the same time they are fleeing the threesome also tries to confirm their find even as the agnostic American archeologist begins to question his personal belief system.
This is an exciting religious thriller that puts a different spin to the typical Brownian theme. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the troubled Randall and Miri make their find and never slows down. Having Tracey join them adds to the deep look at the obsessive disturbed hero; but one must wonder why she was expelled rather than counseled especially since she is grieving while another student involved was allowed to remain in school because her dad showed up to defend her. Still, minor quibbles aside, readers will enjoy this fine thriller as the find has Randall questioning himself even while many want their proof buried along with the archeologist and his female partners.