Introduced in The Sixth Station, New York City journalist Alessandra Russo returns in another religious thriller of the Christendom-shattering, artifact-protecting variety. Stasi interlaces the kidnapping of Russo’s infant son with the real history of the Gospel of Judas, a manuscript discovered in an Egyptian cave in the 1970s and resurfacing years later in a Long Island bank vault. Although the artifact had largely disintegrated, rumors abounded that the most important pages from the Gospel had been stolen. The kidnapper believes Russo has access to these pages that assert Judas was Jesus’s confidant, not His betrayer, among other astonishing revelations, including the technique Jesus used for His resurrection. The formula for resurrection is indeed worth killing over, and Russo must keep these documents out of the wrong hands while racing against the clock to rescue her child. The first-person narrative includes sufficient backstory for new readers to jump in without feeling lost. However, reading these books in order yields a deeper experience.
Verdict Fascinating and clever, Stasi’s thriller is peppered with modern cultural references as well as accepted and alternative biblical history, taking the reader on an emotional journey nearly 2,000 years in the making.—Laura Cifelli, Fort Myers Regional Lib., FL