3 out of 4 stars
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The Grail of the Western World by Patrick Sexton is a thriller set in Ireland. Thrillers don’t usually have humor in them, but this one certainly does! It is an often-lighthearted, action-packed mystery featuring scientists, historians, priests, thieves, and the never-ending search for the “Holy Grail” that Jesus drank from. Two close friends—Joe and Schneider—on a short vacation from work, give a certain Jim Morrison a lift when they find his car to be broken down on the way. Jim strikes a conversation with the men, and they soon become friendly enough to meet each other for beer later in the evening.
In addition to the main characters, we also meet Thierry—who is obsessed with obtaining the Grail—and Rodin—his hilarious and art-loving right-hand man. Morrison is a researcher and a go-to-guy for knowledge around Templars and the Holy Grail and talks to Joe and Schneider about how he thinks the Grail still exists physically in some corner of the globe. After an evening of friendly conversation about the Grail, Morrison feels a little under the weather and rushes back to his room with the promise that he will catch up with the boys again the next morning for breakfast. However, the meeting never happens as the next they see of Morrison is him being carried away in an ambulance from his hotel. They do manage to pick up some of his research papers and notes that he drops on the ground while being carried away though. The two decide to pick up clues from Morrison’s notes and find the Templar church mentioned in one of the papers that could possibly be the location of the Grail.
The pursuit of the Holy Grail by the boys and the surrounding mystery and thrill elements were very well planned out. All the characters were precisely defined, captivating, pleasant (even one of the bad guys!) and down-to-earth. The length of the book is just right, and the mix of mystery with humor was good and so was the pace of the story, with Joe’s and Schneider’s frequent conversations around music educating us to a great extent along the way. I surely enjoyed getting to know the characters and seeing everything they did as they went with the flow of events that were unraveling around them. The book kept me on my toes and I wanted to keep reading to find out what the boys would end up doing next.
What I appreciated the most about this book was the easy conversation between the characters. This really made me feel like I got to know them better. Most of the characters in this book seem like they would be interesting to meet in real life. I practically didn’t want to see the book end.
What I disliked most about this book was how most of the conversations between the bad guys almost always followed the same pattern—with the bossy one eventually calling the other one an idiot. Some kind of variety could have been introduced there. However, toward the end of the book, their conversations were more comprehensive and generally well done. Apart from that, there isn’t too much I could find fault with in this book, except for the fact that it could use a final edit to clean up the minor grammar issues.
I give The Grail of the Western World by Patrick Sexton 3 out of 4 stars. I would have loved to give it a full 4 out of 4 stars, but there are still quite a few errors that need to be cleaned up in the book, which a final edit would help fix. Nevertheless, I genuinely enjoyed this story, and I am really hoping there would be a next installment. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, a lot of humor, books involving references to music and history, and the presence of reliable and strong female characters. I do not recommend this book to people who like a quick read with very few personal details. For someone like me, this was a gripping, brilliant, and stimulating book.
The Grail of the Western World
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