I am a sucker for a good doomsday book. I admit it. There have been a runaway number of doomsday books lately. Blame the success of The Da Vinci Code. So, let me emphasize that I am a sucker for a GOOD doomsday book.
For instance, I love John Case's (aka Carolyn and Jim Hougan, great authors in their own right) thrillers about worldwide threats that a normal Joe (or Jane) is able to thwart. I am hooked on Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Pendergast (who is anything but an ordinary Joe) series. Glenn Cooper's book lies somewhere in between, and it is a winner.
FBI agent Will Piper is marking time until his retirement. He is an alcoholic womanizer, a brilliant profiler, and a distant, bumbling parent. After he has been demoted from a manager to an ordinary agent, he is saddled with apprehending a serial killer. And rookie agent Nancy Lipinski is saddled with him. Together they find that the case is a swirling confusion of clues, methods, and suspects. There doesn't appear to be any characteristic linking all the deaths.
Will must fight his way out of his torpor, engage himself long enough not to get himself or his new partner killed, and somehow also manage to reestablish his relationship with his adult daughter.
Ah, you say, what does this have to do with the seventh son? Willie Dixon's famous song talks about a seventh son who can "look in the sky, predict the rain, tell when a woman's got another man." In Cooper's book, the story of the seventh son, born on the seventh day of the seventh month in the year 777, is interleaved with Piper's story, and he bears no resemblance to Dixon's fey and roguish seventh son. Eventually the modern-day story and the medieval one intersect in an unpredictable and clever way.
What can I say? The modern and ancient characters were interesting and the story was well paced, and the combination kept me turning those pages.