By: James R. Templer
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: March 2011
Reviewed by: Eloise Michael
Review Date: July 29, 2011
Virion by James R. Templer has everything you would expect from a good suspense novel. Templer describes the scenery in vivid detail so that readers will feel like they are right in the middle of the action-- sometimes a little too close for comfort-- while watching the scenes unfold. There is plenty of suspense, and if you are reading late at night, you may be startled enough to jump out of your seat. The dialogue is convincing, and the main characters behave like they are right out of a movie.
What makes this story different from other books about serial murders is that the author explores new ideas about the nature and causes of evil in the world. Virion also has an unusual main character. Though he devotes much of his time and energy to solving crimes, Richard Alexander is not a police officer. He is an artist and professor who has developed an unusual psychic gift that allows him to discover the identities of murderers.
Alexander is smart, and so are the friends who get involved in helping him-- Ezekiel Zapata, the county medical examiner, and Ralph Melton, a retired professor. Alexander is guided by a strong sense of right and wrong. His conscience won't let him walk away from murder investigations, even though he gets in trouble sometimes for being in the middle of crime scenes and his family is sometimes threatened by the criminals he is able to identify. He has the ability to stop murderers before they strike again and feels he must use it.
Alexander begins thinking about the nature of good and evil after realizing that the killer, who calls himself Virion, is using the Bible to justify his actions. Author James Templer creates an
interesting symmetry as both hero and villain grapple with the same question and attempt to interpret the same passage from the Bible. As readers witness the horrifying crimes which Virion commits, they will find themselves thinking, as well, about how it is possible for such evil to exist in the world.
This inquiry into philosophy and Bible study does not slow down the plot in any way. Alexander's philosophical musings help him see into the mind of the killer, and the killer's own ideas about good and evil provide insights into his behavior which help the story move forward. Templer weaves these ideas seamlessly into the suspense of the story.
The pacing of Virion is perfect. Each time a piece of the puzzle falls into place, Templer introduces a new plot twist. Readers will have the satisfaction of watching the facts come together, but all the while there are new mysteries to solve, which makes the book hard to put down. As the plot becomes increasingly complicated, its diverse threads begin to wind together in unexpected ways. In some cases
Templer gives readers clues, so that they can begin to guess at the truth alongside Alexander.
The story builds to a climax which could be right out of a movie, complete with a raging storm that causes most ordinary people to evacuate the area. The final scene brings all the characters together,
including the killer. Templer ends the novel with as much action and suspense as you could ask for, while tying up all the loose ends to bring the plot to a satisfying conclusion.
Quill says: A well-paced murder mystery, full of suspense and unexpected plot-twists.
For more information on Virion, please visit the author's website at: www.jrtempler.com