The Genesis Code

by John Case

(excellent; top 30% of SciThri)

Year published: 1997
Category: science thriller

Tech rating (out of 5):


A priest in rural Italy hears a shattering confession and rushes to the Vatican. Arson takes the lives of a suburban woman and her son. The woman’s brother Joe Lassiter, who just happens to be the head of a high-end private investigation firm, hunts for the killer—or more specifically, the people behind him, as the killer himself is horribly injured in the fire. An international chase ensues, involving religious fanatics, secret bank accounts, fertility clinics, serial murders, and a desperate quest to save the last mother and child.


Here’s what makes The Genesis Code a great thriller: one of the best openings ever; a dogged investigator with apparently unlimited resources; Swiss banks; a Catholic cult; a brilliant scientific/religious premise; and a great ending.

Here’s what may turn you off: the revelations are too slow in coming; a kind of cheesy climax; and the reader has it all figured out long before the protagonist does.

I can’t say much more about the plot without spoiling it. I recommend this book on its strengths—they definitely outweigh its weaknesses. The biomedical content is crucial to the plot and largely accurate, but is kept (appropriately) superficial, so if you dislike too much tech stuff in your science thrillers, this is a good one for you. A thrilling read that will have you thinking about it for days after you’ve turned the last page.

Similar book you might enjoy: Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code

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