From the title alone, I assume that The Cross of Sins is the first in a series. Fathoms Five refers to the five gay nuggets (sexy boys) who work for the blind Professor Maximillian Fathom: Jake Stone – Indiana Jones, Eden Santiago – Brazilian doctor and biologist, Will Hunter – Batman, Luca daRoma – Italian art expert, Shane Huston – cowboy. The Cross of Sins refers to the artwork they’re trying to find before a rival group of Catholic fanatics called the Crimson Crown destroys it. If you’re thinking this sounds like an action adventure genre novel like Di Vinci Code and Ocean’s Eleven, but with some explicit sex scenes, you’d be right.
The story opens with Jake Stone climbing into the guts of a volcano to retrieve a diamond idol of a wealthy French collector. Jake barely escapes with his life from the erupting volcano, only to have the idol taken from him by the French collector’s henchmen. Left for dead, he’s hauled out of the water by a local fisherman and the Brazilian nugget – sorry, Eden – who was sent to fetch Jake for the Professor. Jake doesn’t want to join the group, but he grudgingly goes along when tempted with a chance for revenge.
The team splits up to go in search of clues that will lead them to the hiding place of the historically and artistically significant or sacrilegious - depending on your point of view - Cross of Sins statue. Danger lurks everywhere. Since you can’t keep a good nugget down, the boys make time for some hot sex despite being pursued by the murderous Crimson Crown cronies (Knight calls them minions, but I like the alliteration). The opposing forces meet at a masked ball in Venice as they’re both trying to steal an important artifact from the French collector. As the body count and stakes crank higher, both sides race to the Cross of Sins statue, and the big showdown.
You’re either the kind of person who can enjoy an action adventure yarn, or you’re not a fan of the genre. I like a page-turning adventure. I love it when things blow up, and a truly despicable villain is one of the great guilty pleasures in life. I’ll suspend my disbelief pretty far for fast-paced action and stomach-clenching suspense.
What can’t be suspended though are the rules of good writing. Some of the characters needed to be fleshed out more. The action sequences were harmed rather than helped by frequent and redundant sentence fragments. In the big action scene near the end, overuse of the word minion pulled me out of the story. What this book needs, and deserves, is a great editor. The pieces are there for a really good genre read. They simply need to be put together better. For those reasons, regretfully, I can only give Cross of Sins a sideways review.