Book Review: The Genesis Code by John Case, a Biomedical Thriller


When I finished reading John Case’s The Genesis Code, the first thought that came to my mind was how come I didn’t read it earlier! A thriller, with unthinkable twists and turns, delving deep into religion, theology and history— a reader couldn’t have asked for more. Being an avid lover of this particular genre, I felt sorry for depriving myself of this treat for so many years.

John Case is actually the pseudonym for the couple Jim and Carolyn Hougan. The Genesis Code was their first and most famous publication. Together, the couple has authored a few more books and I’m planning to read The Murder Artist as the next.

The Genesis Code begins with the confession of a doctor at the church in one of the remotest and most beautiful hill towns of Italy which immediately makes Father Azetti rush to the Vatican, so that, going beyond all the norms, he could deliver the message of the confession he heard to one of the Cardinals.

A few months later, in McLean, Joe Lassiter wakes up to a phone call in the wee hours of the morning only to be informed that his sister Kathy and nephew Brandon have been killed in a fire at their residence. The police suspect arson as a man with an ambiguous identity and a third-degree burn has been rescued on the spot.

Private investigator Joe probes deeper as he wants to know the reason behind the crime. With all his power, contacts and money, as he tries to unearth the secret behind the gruesome murders, he finds himself in a maze of conspiracy, constant chase around the globe and even a series of murders.

Different women and their kids have been ruthlessly murdered in different countries following the same MO. Things get worse when Joe suspects a conservative but enormously powerful religious group, Umbra Domini’s involvement in this mad crime. (Remember Opus Dei of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown? Umbra Domini is their equivalent)

Why the ruthless, savage, shadowy killers are hunting down innocent mothers and their kids? What is the connection among this murder mayhem? What is the truth so powerful that some people can go to any extreme to bury it?

The nexus between religion and science, a macabre series of incidents that follow will keep the readers on the edge of their seat. It took me two sittings to finish the 530-page book. Actually, you won’t be able to put it down till the truth is unravelled.

It’s difficult to find a flaw in the book. The dialogues are crisp and fitting to the characters. The research is vivid, the language, lucid. However, I think, at places, there are descriptions which are unnecessarily long and dragging. And, as the reader badly wants the mystery to be unearthed, she/he would feel an urge to skip a few pages.

The Genesis Code was published way before the Dan Brown era, in 1997. While reading the book, it must be kept in mind that the internet, Google search engine, mobile handsets and the ilk were not in vogue at that time.

Do you love thrillers/mystery? Who are your favourite author/s?

21 responses to “Book Review: The Genesis Code by John Case, a Biomedical Thriller

  1. ‘I want to buy the book immediately’..My thought after reading this review.Whatever you write,is utmost perfection,whether in Bengali or English,your writings are always engaging,and never dull.I am in the process of discovering who my favourite author in the genre is, maybe I have to read a few more books to come to the point where I can declare my favourite.Hope you are well didi.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The mention of the secret society caught my fancy. There appears to be something very sinister about these societies. For all we know Opus Dei or Umbra Domini, in this case, may or may not be entirely fictional. The net is full of theories about such societies, one called Illuminati, which has strange rituals, uses symbolism and attracts the rich & powerful politicians, leaders, stars etc. The authors might have drawn inspiration from those.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Mani for sharing this review, some books just go unnoticed as nobody around us mentions. I am glad you have read it in just two sittings, that itself speaks for its readability. I must check it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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