The Vatican Secret by Peter Hogenkamp

Thank you to bookouture Publicity team for offering me a copy of this novel in advance of its publication. All view are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dubbed as James Bond but with priests, I was pleasantly surprised by The Vatican Secret. Although it is the second novel in the series and the story picking up right after where the first one ended, I asked myself if I would be able to pick up the pieces and understand what was going on. In true BooksTechnica fashion, reading a series out of order seems to be the staple, but I’m happy once again to report that this book can be enjoyed out of order but probably not as much as reading it in order.

Having now finished The Vatican Secret, I have a new appreciation for the action-thriller genre. And here’s the thing: I don’t usually reach for books with a conspiracy at its core. I don’t know if it is necessarily because I feel like they would disappoint me or why I shy away from reading these types of thrillers, but I do realise now that there is a whole new unexplored area for me to dive in to. Because if The Vatican Secret has left me with something, it was with an appetite for action thrillers. And I’m eager to pick up the first novel in the series to see where the characters started.

With deliciously flawed characters and paced from cover to cover with heart-racing scenes, The Vatican Secret is an excellent introduction to the action-thriller genre.

Going into the book, I was instantly swept into the story. It feels to me that there is no break, that as a reader (regardless if you have read the first book or not), you are carried away by the story. Written from multiple points of view, following both the antagonists and the protagonists, it feels to me that Hogenkamp chose an easily accessible topic that everyone would find appealing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know the politics and what goes on behind closed doors in the Vatican?

The characters are perfectly flawed. I loved how Hogenkamp ensured that we spend enough time with each side to the point that I started (at least a part of me) rooting for the bad guys. I wanted to see what would happen if things didn’t go to plan for both the protagonists and antagonists, and I’m glad to say that things don’t go as planned multiple times throughout the story.

There was one thing that did disappoint me, and that is mainly the ending. I think this is also because we got to spend time with both sides–the ones trying to protect the Vatican from nuclear destruction and the ones trying to ensure that the Vatican will go down–that I found myself at the end conflicted. I would have wanted to see a dramatic ending because this book is packed with action from cover to cover. Instead of the somewhat happy and peaceful ending, I wanted to get the gritty and gory. This is, in the end, just a personal preference from someone who hasn’t read much in the genre but definitely is open to get more insight into it.

Overall I think The Vatican Secret was a perfect introduction for me to the action-thriller genre. I’m excited to see what Hogenkamp has next in store for his readers, and I will keep my eyes peeled on his writing journey. The Vatican Secret is out now from bookouture and is available to be ordered in either paperback or e-book everywhere you shop for your books.