A Pius Man – BOOK REVIEW
Last night i finished reading A Pius Man by Declan Finn. The best way to describe this book is to say that it’s a pro-Catholic version of Dan Brown’s writings. The story begins when a researcher at the Vatican archives finds something he shouldn’t see. Somebody doesn’t want it to get out. Of course they kill him for it. Action and hijinks ensue.
Most modern explicitly Christian fiction, to be blunt, sucks. I mean, it’s really, really bad. Thankfully that is absolutely not the case here. This book is an enjoyable read.
The best thing about this book is the fun characters. I particularly enjoyed Sean Ryan, the Hollywood stuntman turned mercenary action hero. His background may seem to many to be implausible, but I’ve known enough people from really strange backgrounds that it actually felt more real to me for it. I also greatly enjoyed his portrayal of the fictional Pope Pius XIII. His life history rings very true, and he feels like a priest – the best kind of priest.
This is one of Mr. Finn’s earlier novels. I picked it as the first to read and review under the mistaken impression that it actually was his first novel. Unfortunately, some of that shows through. Although the characters are as fun as I’ve already mentioned, there are a bit too many of them for this particular story. It is sometimes hard to keep straight what is happening to whom. There’s also a bit too much expository dialogue. Indeed, even the author realizes this. One character goes so far as to explicitly comment that they’re drifting into “Dan Brown monologue” territory. The comment would sit a little better if the book hadn’t actually drifted a bit too far into that already.
On the other hand, the action flows pretty well – and there’s rather a lot of it. That helps keep the exposition dumps from dragging the book down too far. Some of it is a little over the top. But then we kind of hope for that out of our action novels, don’t we? It never goes so far as to break one out of the story.
A Pius Man is a strong read. I think most people will enjoy it, even non-Catholics. But the strongest audience for this book is definitely going to be those who want good, fun, action thrillers that don’t insult their faith. I give the book four stars out of five and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.