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2020 – A Simply Divine Mystery, written by Lee Raudonis, runs on the premise “What if the USA is governed by devout Christians and proposing a constitutional amendment making the New Testament as the basis of all civil laws?”
To give you a background, the novel is set in the future, March 1, 2020. At this time, there are no more Republicans or Democrats but instead the two main political parties become Christian Democratic Republicans and National Libertarians.
The novel starts when a bomb exploded during a Sunday church service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. This is the third bombing that happened in recent weeks that killed two senators and an assistant secretary of Homeland Security.
The FBI task force headed by Assistant Director Carl Drake, a devout Christian, believes that the bombings are the work of Muslim extremists a la Al-Queda based on the intelligence information from someone code-named Desert Dan in New Mexico.
The main character, FBI agent Toby Sullivan, is agnostic but still attend Sunday church service and has survived the bombing. He has his own reservations on what is happening politically. He shares the same thoughts and sentiments with his girlfriend, Tad Davenport, a CIA agent and an atheist. However, Toby’s working partner, Trey Rawlings, a devout Christian, seems to be in favor of what’s happening.
The story combines crime investigation and the debate on the separation of church and state. It depicts how delegating crime prevention patrol to the citizens can go overboard. It seems that society is returning to the conservative ’50s. And at the same time, the Bible is interpreted in different ways. So the conflict is between the Christian left and the Christian right.
Each chapter starts with a quote from the Bible or Quoran which gives a glimpse of what the chapter is about. The dialogues are long and almost preachy which drag the story in moving forward despite the fast-paced plot.
The names of the characters are confusing. Toby, Trey, Tad, Tony — all of them starts with T. And I saw a few errors like “Donahue” instead of “Davenport” and “Trey” instead of “Tad”.
Because of these reasons, I’m going to rate this 2 out of 5 stars.