Here is the latest review of my new novel, By A Thread, a political thriller:
Reviewed by John Adrian
I’ve read thrillers that begin with seemingly endless, unrelated chapters that set-up wildly diverse plot lines that seem to go nowhere near each other until the last few chapters when they magically bump into each other and, just as magically, intertwine. Marty Beaudet’s first novel, By A Thread isn’t one of them.
I’ve read spy novels in which the hero-protagonist makes James Bond look like a Nancy-boy. By A Thread isn’t one of these, either.
I could go on and on with what By A Thread isn’t, but I won’t. What it is is an exceedingly well-crafted novel with the proverbial “ordinary men doing extra-ordinary things.”
That’s one of its great strengths. The heroes are very ordinary young men. So ordinary that any reader who can overcome any xenophobia over Mormon missionaries, Muslims, and gay men can easily identify with them.
Then, too, there have been a few, if not many, portrayals of Mormon missionary life in movies in recent years. Notably C. Jay Cox’ Latter Days and Trey Parker’s Orgazmo. While Parker’s aim was farce, Cox’ aim apparently was romantic comedy/drama. Neither Parker, nor Cox cared enough about the realities of Mormon missionary life to portray them accurately. Beaudet does care, and his portrayal of missionary life is stunningly accurate, which makes By A Thread that much more compelling reading.
Elder Kevin Davis is a (Mormon) missionary laboring in the Austria, Vienna Mission of the LDS Church. Davis, within weeks of completing his mission, and his rigid, “greenie” companion, are “hosting an informational display” outside a large Vienna store on a Saturday morning. …
As he talks to shoppers whose curiosity causes them to stop, if only for a minute, Davis senses that he is being watched. At length, Davis traces the sense of being more than casually observed to a swarthy young man…. He is Jassim al-Shammari a Kuwaiti living in Vienna.…
Davis (and his companion), and al-Shammari meet in Chapter 3. In Chapter 7 Davis and his companion are in al-Shammari’s apartment giving him the first [missionary lesson]. In due course Davis and his companion report their encounter with al-Shammari as a part of their weekly report to the Vienna Mission office. Unbeknownst to them their Mission President recognizes al-Shammari’s name and initiates events which will help to fulfill [a prophecy] attributed by some to Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the LDS Church (and from which Beaudet has taken his title).
While the young Kuwaiti…is meeting the young American…in Vienna, sinister forces…are at work in Washington. The United States government is in a shambles because no one thought it possible for the President and Vice-president to both be assassinated at effectively the same time.
In the space of a little over three hundred pages and fifty-some chapters Beaudet has carefully woven a well-integrated, believable tale of deception, loyalties betrayed, and young love. Similar books by better-known, popular authors have taken me a week to read. By A Thread took me two days. It’s what’s known as “a page turner.” Indeed the only reason it took me two days is because I started it late of an afternoon.
By A Thread has a cinematic quality which makes it an easy read, and I hope it’s read by someone who is in a position to make it into a movie. Not in the way Patricia Nell Warren’s Front Runner or Peter Lefcourt’s The Dreyfus Affair have been optioned for films but never produced, but for real. I also hope Beaudet has the courage to protect this masterpiece so it doesn’t end-up sold for a film that never gets made.