Book Review: The Y Factor, by Liam Roberts

10 Sep

The Y Factor: Scientists Discover a Genetic Secret that Threatens to Wipe Israel Off the Map...Genre: Christian; contemporary; suspense thriller; intrigue

Plot Summary: Computer analyst Eric, and geneticist Alana are a college couple in love when they both take jobs at the National Geographic working as part of the team on the Genographic Project.  But they soon discover that things are not as they seem.  Mysterious computer glitches, disappearances, and secrets abound and they are determined to get to the bottom of it.  Traveling from Cairo, to Tokyo, from Delhi to Pakistan, their international adventures collide with Muslim extremists and a bizarre plan for world domination.

My Book Review:  Hmmm… Suspense, international intrigue, and the National Geographic… sounded like quite an interesting combo to liven things up after I’d spent weeks on an old classic.  I think this especially grabbed my attention since I’d seen a documentary on tv about the NG’s Genographic Project, which can be seen here.

Exploring the author’s website, I discovered that Liam Roberts is a pen name used to protect Roberts’ family, since he writes about certain explosive topics.  This was his first novel, and there should be a sequel expected sometime in the near future, which I am looking forward to reading.  Some are calling his writing, “Christian Tom Clancy”.  I guess I wouldn’t know, but I was impressed that it wasn’t blatantly obvious this was his first book.  I felt the pacing was well-done, and he manages to pull off characters who develop relationally despite the fact that they are separated through three-fourths of the way through the novel.  And we see Eric’s spiritual development as well.  A lot of suspense thrillers don’t throw much by way of a personal life into the story for the characters.

In some ways, the story felt a little unrealistic – not in terms of jihadists (I know that is a reality), but because the main characters are mere college-age students who embark on their own to fight off terrorists, while there is barely little mention of their parents or home life.  I also felt there was no real closure as to what happened to their friend, Hamdi.  We just are left to assume what happened because Eric and Alana apparently lose interest in him.  And I don’t understand the purpose for the character Para, Alana’s assistant in India.  She is in, and then out of the story, but she seems to be unnecessary to the plot.

U.S. Navy Seals ~ someone is about to have a very bad day...I can’t say I was able to follow all of the computer-techie lingo or the maneuvers in the SEALS’ derring-do toward the end of the story, but they were painted in such glowing terms, that I didn’t really mind and was able to follow the gist of things.

Whether it be on topics such as genetic research (and biblical interpretation of it), or Muslim terrorists, the author shows he has real knowledge of what he is talking about.   I think part of what made the story appeal to me was the interweaving of the real life Genographic Project and it’s fascinating findings.

If this story peaks your interest …if you like science thrillers (with a Christian spin) …if you like stories surrounding the War on Terror … this book is for you.  Roberts packs a lot in this exciting novel.  Even SEALS and an attractive Israeli secret agent make an appearance!

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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Book Reviews


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