From the number one bestselling author, Peter Jamescomes an explosive standalone thriller for fans of Dan Brown that will grip you and won’t let go until the very last page.

Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer the phone call that would change his life – and possibly the world – for ever.

‘I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.’

What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?

This question and its answer lie at the heart of Absolute Proof, an international thriller from bestselling author Peter James.

The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence . .

Peter James is a bestselling author, best known for his gritty, Brighton based Detective series starring a certain DS Roy Grace. However, before Roy became a worldwide sensation, Peter wrote a whole host of books which tackled big, tricky subjects, such as Big Pharma, supernatural phenomena, technology, science and some really, really, badly behaved people. “Host” and “Twilight” were two of my favourites – look them up if you can!

Peter’s newest novel, Absolute Proof is a blockbuster adventure tale, much more similar to Peter’s earlier work than it is to the series that shot him firmly into the Bestsellers list, and as I read this book on the collaborative reading platform ‘The Pigeonhole’, it became apparent from some of the reader comments that this novel was a big diversion to what they were expecting from Peter James.

But unexpected is good in a thriller, right?

We start off Absolute Proof with a couple of different scenarios. We don’t learn too much about these people right away, but they’ll be back later. We’re introduced to investigative journalist Ross Hunter, and learn some of the horrors that he experienced as a war reporter, and also the aftermath and the effect it had on him and his family life.
Back to the present day, Ross receives a phone call from Dr. Harry Cook, hitherto a stranger to Ross, but one who insists that he can prove the existence of God, and that he has been told that Ross is the man he must take this information to. The information being a set of co-ordinates that can lead him to items that prove the earthly existence of Jesus Christ. However I’m not sure how proof that Jesus walked the earth proves the existence of a God in Heaven, but that might be something I am missing. Hmm, crackpot signals start going off in Ross’s head, but when Dr. Cook relays a piece of information he was told to use (by God) as proof of divine information, Ross is utterly shaken and confused – there is no way that this guy could know this fact – but he does. So what does this mean? Is he genuine? Could Ross find the Holy Grail?

With a huge mortgage to pay, a fractious relationship with his pregnant wife, and the fate of humanity potentially in his hot little hands, Ross can’t let go of the thought that there might be something in what this crazy little man is saying. And if not, well, he’ll coin it in from selling the story to the highest bidder. Win-win!

From here we go on a journey (literally), to various places taking in Glastonbury, Brighton, Egypt, USA to name a few. Ross tries to hunt down 3 items from 3 sets of co-ordinates, left by Dr Harry. There are some confusing relationships, and rather a lot of characters to get your head around. There’s a few characters that seem to be doing things just to further the plot, and a couple of red herrings thrown in for good measure.

If you’re thinking it sounds a bit ‘Da Vinci Code’, well yes, it does, and you’ll see that repeated in lots of the reviews of Absolute Proof that you read; as you try and visualise Ross you’ll be hard pressed not to see Tom Hanks throwing himself around the Louvre with baddies in tow. I do think Peter’s work is a lot more realistic though and Ross is a more likeable, rounded character than Brown’s Robert Langdon, even if his actions make me want to howl with frustration at times.

I enjoyed the pacey style of this book – however there are some really annoying incidences of ‘I can’t possibly tell you over the phone’ (subtext – I must give the baddies time to at least try and kill me before you arrive), type conversations, which are purely devices to draw out the plot and increase the tension, but that is common in this style of book. It doesn’t stop you wanting to throw it at the wall though. Neither does Ross telling literally EVERYONE he comes in to contact with about his ‘secret’. For an investigative journalist, he certainly cannot keep his powder dry and every time he wonders how someone found out about the worst kept secret in the world, it’s a challenge to not roll your eyes.

All in all though, it’s good fun and bound to be a bestseller. Although Ross is at times utterly infuriating, I couldn’t help but like him. The story is punchy, fast-paced and thought-provoking, and makes you wonder what would happen if we could perhaps find proof of Christ on earth, and the chaos that would inevitably follow.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Pigeonhole for giving me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.