Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Archaeologist Nicole Berman is getting close to a biblical discovery that could change history. But someone is dead set on stopping her from uncovering the truth in Dead Sea Rising by author Jerry B. Jenkins.

Though it’s very rare that I do this, I combed through the endorsements in this book, trying to pinpoint the genre beforehand. A couple of the endorsements refer to this novel as a thriller.

I’ve enjoyed other novels by this author and was intrigued to find out this one has split timelines that alternate between chapters. It includes a storyline about Terah, a familiar name in biblical history. However, although the blurb calls this book a “heart-stopping adventure,” the story itself doesn’t have the action to match that, and I don’t think it’s on the thrilling level of a thriller.

The developments surrounding Terah seem dragged out, not always moving the plot forward, and I found him to be despicable. It’s one thing to read about a depraved character, if he’s complex. But since Terah is not only depraved but comes off as weak, willfully ignorant, and buffoonish, I found it hard to keep reading about him.

I also found the modern-day storyline to be on the slow side, and I guessed the guilty party within the first few pages. Still, it was interesting to find out the motive much later on.

Perhaps the rest of the series will tell if the whole Vietnam War thread in this book is crucial to the overall story arc or if the thread’s twist is more or less a red herring that lengthens this novel without factoring much into its outcome. In large part, this book felt to me like an extended setup for a following book, and I think its story could have been told in fewer pages without losing anything significant.

Nevertheless, I do want to find out more about the crux of the matter—Nicole’s archaeological mission. So I plan on continuing the Dead Sea Chronicles when Book Two comes out.


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