Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.
But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.
A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.
Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.
I like books that integrate history into a modern day fictional tale. The author uses the Knights of Malta, which I had never heard of, as a basis for the plot of the book. Since I don't know anything about them, I don't know what was fictional and not, but it made for an interesting book.
The story is all about conning. The author evidently did a lot of research on grifting and conning, and spun a great story around it. It is very suspenseful and very much a page-turner. Fletcher, the main character, is very liable. An ex-con who is forced into doing another con so he can protect his family, all the while lying to them so they don't know what he has done. The battle inside of him was interesting as he tried to decide of his conversion was real, or if it was a con he had even pulled on himself.
The book is full of good and bad guys, and some people you can't tell if they are good or bad, and that made for a few surprises. There was one use of a word I don't believe belongs in a Christian novel, but it was clean other than that.
I admire the author for his ingenuity in writing this novel. It has an elaborate and complicated plot, but not so much that I couldn't understand what was going on. It was a fascinating and interesting read, and was a book I did not want to put down. And it had a message that God is always there for us, even when we try to do things our own way.
About the author:
An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary Bartels serves as senior pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Lansing, MI. He earned a BA in world religions from Cornerstone University and his Masters of Divinity from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Zachary enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing, and cycling. He lives in Lansing, MI, with his wife Erin and their son.
The Last Con is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.