Full disclosure, I was provided a copy of this book by the author however have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.
Actiones secundum fidei
What if your entire belief system were challenged? Would that bother you? Make you question everything you hold dear? Make you want to cry, scream, kill yourself or someone else? Would you try to stop those who developed the theory from getting their thoughts out into the public domain? At what cost?
Special Agent Dale Conley of the Bureau of Esoteric Investigations is faced with these questions and more. A serial killer has already attacked and murdered two men with seemingly no connections. In both instances, the men were heard to be muttering a Latin phrase as they died and were in possession of religious items.
The problem is that the victims are all outspoken atheists.
Dale and his partner Agent Spiro while searching for a connection reveal that these men and three others were classmates at a Christian college. Dubbed as the “Five Wisemen” the group was brilliant in their studies and theories, that is until they developed a theory so controversial that it caused them to denounce all that they held dear and leave the University. Now, many years later, they are being stalked and killed, but why? Armed with the list of remaining victims, Dale must use his historical knowledge and detective skills to find the killer and unravel the mystery before the Wisemen are all wiped out. What he discovers as the case develops is a web of deceit, experiments and secrets that leaves him questioning his own trust in government and its various agencies.
Dream On is the second in the Dale Conley action thrillers series by Erik Carter. Having previously read Erik’s Barnaby Wilcox books, I was eager to read this series as well. However, having not yet read Stone Groove, I came into this series fresh with no knowledge of the character or his previous case. As such, I was pleased to find that while this is a second book in a series, it is written in such a way that it can also be read as a stand-alone novel with no loss of back story. Dale works for the Bureau of Esoteric Investigations which appears to be a fictional “shadow bureau” of sorts. Dale’s job is to assist the other agencies, taking the lead where needed when certain artifacts of historical significance are concerned and then disappearing once the case is closed with the other agency taking complete credit. At first, this sounded like a really thankless job, but then I thought about the myriad government agencies who operate in some semblance of this fashion, and thought maybe there are actually jobs out there that do just that that the public is not aware of.
The more I read into Dream On, the more I was drawn in and I think it may have taken me all of 4 hours total reading time to complete this fast-paced tale. The premise centers on a theory that is so controversial that the potential public reaction cannot be gauged. The creators of the theory striving to see their thoughts released into the public spectrum while two tireless soldiers attempt to suppress their findings at all costs. The premise itself is an ages old conflict regarding long held personal beliefs. That aspect in itself has the potential for a controversy to ruffle some thin-skinned feathers and spark intrigue in others. If that weren’t enough, Carter adds in a genius twist that left me awestruck. The more I pondered the repercussions of the plot’s twist the more mind blown I became. If you like your thrillers with a bit of religious controversy, I would suggest giving Dream On a read. And if you are curious as to the origins of the theory outlined in the book, Carter has also included a bit of backstory for those who are so inclined.