“The Thieves of Heaven” by Richard Doetsch
Genre: Thriller: Religious Intrigue
Rating: 4 Water Towers
A devilishly good read this is one Hell of a good book. Every now and then I read a book that is hard to put down, “The Thieves of Heaven” is that kind of book.
Former second story thief, Michael St. Pierre, has done his time in Sing-Sing for a botched robbery and is now on parole. Married to Mary, Michael has reformed his life and has no intentions of ever going back to a life of crime. His security business is not doing well, but, he enjoys his life just the way it is.
One day, an older, very distinguished gentleman, August Finster, approaches Michael with a proposal: To help him acquire some objects that he desires. Michael flatly turns this gentleman down, but accepts his card should Michael’s circumstances change.
Michael has long since given up on God, but, Mary is quite adamant about the existence of a higher being and the eternal afterlife in Heaven. Mary, a teacher who just stared a new job, goes to church regularly while Michael comes along as an un-willing participant. Unbeknownst to Michael, Mary has undergone some tests to find out why they can’t conceive. As bad luck may have it, Mary finds out she has cancer and needs to have an operation and treatment to stop the spread. Unfortunately, since she has a new job, and did not pick up Cobra coverage thinking that they only had 3 months without coverage until the new job’s coverage kicks in, they are without insurance. And also without money to cover the expected $200, 000 cost of the operation and follow up treatments. Mary’s health declines very rapidly and Michael needs to act quickly.
Michael does all he can to try to secure a loan, but, no bank will give him one: he is on parole and his business is struggling at best. Michael is feeling betrayed and wonders why God is doing this to Mary.
Enter August Finster once again.
August understands that Michael’s circumstances have changed and offers to give Michael the needed cash to treat Mary, if Michael will agree to steal the items that August so desperately needs. Michael agrees and Finster tells him the plan. The objects of Finster’s desire are two keys (one Gold and one Silver) that are said to be the keys to Heaven given to Peter by Jesus. These keys are in the Vatican.
As the book rockets through the pages, Michael breaks his parole (his best friend, Paul is his parole officer and a policeman) and heads out to Rome to steal the keys. After doing so, he discovers that the keys in the Vatican were “fakes”. Michael then takes off to Israel where the true keys to Heaven are located in the very old Church of Ascension on Mount Kephas that sits exactly in the spot where Jesus rose to Heaven.
Michael finds the real keys and, after a close call with the keeper of the Church of Ascension (a man named Simon who is a soldier of God, like the Templar) Michael completes his job by delivering the keys to August Finster at his mansion in Germany.
Unfortunately, Mary’s health is still rapidly declining and to really complicate Michael’s life, Simon shows up at his house demanding the keys back and informing Michael who Finster really is and explaining that the gates to Heaven are now closed, and Mary, if she dies, will never get there. Not knowing who to believe, Simon or Finster, Michael is in a true dilemma. Eventually Michael decides that Mary’s faith is too important to ignore and puts his faith in Simon. He and Simon return to Germany to get the keys back followed by Paul (since Michael has once again violated parole). Eventually the three of them work together to try to get the keys back for the Church and to re-open the gates of Heaven.
As the pages unfold there is plenty of action, some gore (but the one person who dies the most horrible death is someone who truly deserves it), and some very interesting sleight of hand and trickery. Michael is a master at sleight of hand and planning ahead. But, the Devil is a very tough adversary.
This is an outstanding book and I am definitely looking forward to Richard Doetsch’s next adventure.