203 of 209 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2009
Elisha's Bones is the first book of Don Hoesel. Having the chance to read first books by new authors is much like trying a new restaurant for me. I love being able to see the writer's style, his method, his first baby. It is such a privilege to hold in your hand an author's first book and know that it was such a labor of love for them.
Fans of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code will definitely love this book. It has all the fast paced intrique without the controversy that Brown's book brought to it. However it is quite thought provoking as this college professor leaves his quiet life behind to traverse the world to find the bones of Elisha. The trip is financed by a man who has a limitless amount of money, but not a limitless amount of time because he is dying. His willingness to finance this college professor's search means many Indiana Jones type adventures around the world. However, Hoesel does a great job of keeping this realistic and not hokey sounding at all.
107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
"And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet." (2 Ki 13:21, ESV)
Is it conceivable that the power of God surging through Elisha's bones could be harnessed yet today? What if your life and the lives of those you care about depend upon you finding them first?
Jack Hawthorne was well settled into the quiet and routine life of an archaeology professor at Evanston University in Ellen, North Carolina. It was only six years previous that a personal tragedy in Egypt had caused him to trade in the spade and meter stick of the field archaeologist in favor of textbooks and classrooms, the seemingly safer tools of the archaeology professor. Christmas break is just around the corner and Jack has every intention of spending it watching ESPN, eating frozen cookie dough out of the wrapper, and doing anything else he might wish to pass the time. That is, until his plans are suddenly derailed by a visit from a mysterious man claiming to represent billionaire Gordon Reese. Jack can't help but wonder what use a man like Gordon Reese would have for an archaeology professor like him. As it turns out, Reese wants Jack to take up what seems a fool's quest; finding the bones of the prophet Elisha. This quest is anything but new to Reese, who has been pursuing the bones for some time. As a dying man, Reese has more money than time and time is running out. Intrigued by the prospects of a little adventure, Jack can't help but agree to Reese's proposal. At worst, a fool's quest funded by a blank check backed by a billionaire would be more exciting than three weeks of ESPN and frozen cookie dough.
Jack soon finds that he got much more than he bargained for. The quest for Elisha's bones will take Jack across the globe to the likes of Venezuela, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. Throughout this adventure, Jack must contend both with others who are intent on finding the bones and those who intend to protect them. In the process of searching for the bones of the prophet, Jack must face many of the skeletons that have suddenly come back to life right out of his own closet. He is finding, real or not, the power of Elisha's bones appears to be alive and well, if only figuratively. As the quest progresses and the stakes rise increasingly higher, the focus of the quest becomes less and less about finding the bones and more about finishing or getting out of the quest with his life. As fate would have it, finding the bones may be the only way to do it.
I had a hard time putting down this book. The non-stop adventure and excitement kept me on the edge of my seat. It can be hard to find a comparison for this type of novel, as the Biblical archaeology / adventure genre is a pretty narrow part of the Christian fiction market. From a comparison standpoint, I would put Elisha's Bones in league with the Biblical archaeology / adventure titles, A Skeleton in God's Closet and More than a Skeleton by Paul L. Maier. Fans of Maier's books and similar titles will definitely want to pick up their own copy of Elisha's Bones. It is not very often that I do this, but I so thoroughly enjoyed this book, I am going to give it five stars. Hats off to Don Hoesel for writing such an enjoyable book and hats off to Bethany House for publishing it!
104 of 114 people found the following review helpful
First let me say that Don Hoesel is an excellent writer. His use of the English language is fantastic. His pros, articulation and overall style made reading this book a joy. If I were to give stars solely on the writing this book would get an easy five. Don writes the story through the eyes of a PhD who uses words some of us don't hear very often but it's smooth none-the-less.
However the book was not what I had expected. Some compare it to Indiana Jones but to me it was much more of a academic look into archeology then a fast-paced adventure of thrills and suspense. Don't get me wrong, there are sections of suspense (and great sadness not expected) but they are few and far between. The dialogue is extremely slow (and if I had to say why this gets 3 starts it would be for this reason). Short conversations would take five pages instead of one due to the main characters thoughts taking up most of the exchange. This made for very slow dialogue and therefore slowed the book down terribly. The action sequences were very well-written and fast paced but as I said they were far too few. Another issue was the lead female character. For some odd reason, even though she was there throughout the entire book, she seemed to disappear as the story progressed. She ended up saying very little in the last quarter of the book and her strong character seemed to just fade.
Biblically the story was based on a possible Old Testament find but most of the book had little spiritual significance at all. The main female lead professed to follow Christ but no attributes of a Christian were present. In the end the question of the existence of God was asked and therefore the book redeemed itself a bit. This book could be good for those who are asking the big question... Does God exist?
Over-all I enjoyed the book. It should (and could) have been faster paced. This genre of book cries for adventure, thrills and suspense.
1 Star = Pathetic
2 Stars = Fair
3 Stars = Good
4 Stars = Excellent
5 Stars = Life changing
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
The book starts off with a terrific concept, and for the first half is compelling, believable and intriguing. Then, it digs its own hole by becoming so unbelievable (no, I'm not talking about the possible miracle of the bones) with situations and events that the book becomes simply ludicrous. Normally, a reader would feel something when there are so many characters killed - but since character development is non-existent, you simply don't care as the bodies pile up and you slog towards the ending. Too bad those bones couldn't have been used to bring the second half back to literary life.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2011
Of course all archaeology fiction has to be action-oriented and involve guns, chase scenes, world travel... This at least defies the convention that Christian fiction must be preachy. I read this expecting to suffer through some evangelism, but aside from the subject matter being a biblical prophet's remains, I couldn't tell. It's a fairly decent page-turner in the style of Dan Brown and his ilk.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2009
Elisha's Bones is the rip-roaring story of archaeologist Jack Hawthorne (kind of a modern-day Indiana Jones). Jack gave up the exploration side of archaeology when hit by a tragedy at a dig in Egypt, and is now living and lecturing in a small university town. He is mysteriously hired by the richest man in the world to find the bones of the prophet Elisha, which he believes have the power to raise people from the dead. Jack is more sceptical, but is on holiday and needs the money. The research leads him initially to South America (where he has a memorable meeting with his ex-fiance), but things start to go wrong as strange people show up, and the current project seems to relate back to the Egyptian experience.
The book is a well-written, fast-paced romp. While published by Bethany House, it's not overtly Christian, but the plot is within the realms of biblical possibility (unlike some secular authors I could name). It is an excellent first novel, well-researched and gave a real feel of being in the places. However, given the level of research/knowlege required to include something minor like the dingo bumper sticker, my enjoyment was spoilt somewhat by a couple of errors that should have been picked up in the editing process (it's "Jeeves", not "Geeves" and Qantas does not fly to Venezuela). If the details are not correct, leave them out to maintain the necessary suspension of disbelief for the reader. Otherwise, this would have been 5 stars.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2009
Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel is a pulse-pounding action filled thriller in the vein of The DaVinci Code, but written well! Jack Hawthorne gave up working in the field as an archaeologist to work as a college professor after the mysterious death of his brother. He's lured back into one of his old digs in Venezuela when a reclusive billionaire hires him to find the biblical prophet Elisha's bones which are rumored to have the power to resurrect the dead. Hawthorne reconnects with his old fiance (and she reconnects her fist with his face), Espy, who is a language expert. But every time Jack and Espy make a discovery, someone dies, and they are on the run for their lives, especially when he learns that this quest is connected to his brother's death.Hoesel has created a humorous self-deprecating character who has a lot to learn about himself and relationships. Espy is more than just his female foil, she's smart with a lot of heart and wants very much to share her new faith with Jack, but he's not quite ready yet. I fully intended to go to bed at a reasonable hour Monday night, but I because so caught up in the story, I didn't get to sleep until I finished it, after 1:30 am. So this book comes with a reader's warning: Don't pick it up unless you have the time to finish it, because it's too good to put down!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2009
I'd certainly say it's safe to call it that without exaggeration. Especially since Da Vinci Code dealt with an agnostic detective and this deals with a professor who was an archaeologist until a covered-up "accident" killed his brother. Called back in for one very specific relic- the bones of Old Testament Prophet Elisha, now he goes around the world and founds out the people that are protecting the bones will seriously do anything it takes to protect the secrets of the bones, including their existence, from anyone that they feel don't deserve know them. I'm not into archaeology (except when watching The Mummy or Indiana Jones), but this seriously drew me in quite literally from the first page all the way to the last sentence. Don did it that well, and I'm one picky reader.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2009
If you like Indiana Jones at all...you'll even like this better. I'm hooked. Hoping this becomes a series. Seriously...this is one of the better books I have ever read. I doubt the Hollywood type will ever pick it up...but it would be an incredible movie as well. It's every bit as good as anything I've read by Robert Ludlum. Even though it has an Indiana Jones feel...the character is entirely unique. The main character is more of your everyday person thrown into a Jason Bourne type role entirely against his own will. Very nice read. I got it from the public library but will probably buy it for my own personal library.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
When I read fiction, most of the time I am just trying to "get away". This book did that for me. Having seen most of the Indiana Jones movies and the National Treasure movies, I kind of anticipated that I would get a story with some implausible actions. And that was okay for me. There were some real issues though.
I have the Kindle version. Sporadically throughout the book there would be issues where the first letter of a word was attached to the preceding word followed by the space and the rest of the word. It disrupted the flow of reading. Not sure if that is a kindle issue or that is the way the printed text is. This would be more of an editing issue.
As for the story itself, I have a few problems. Like others have said, Reese and his "story" seem just thrown in to justify the story. Why did he want the bones and why did he have everyone killed? Then the issue of God. He is brought up by Espy, but He doesn't really fit the story other than to explain why these bones have power. Either address Jack's conflict with God and resolve it or, like the Indiana Jones movies, leave it out entirely. Finally the ending stunk. It felt like some one said okay times up, time to end the book and so the author did. There is no closure to Jack and Espy's relationship, no closure to the group protecting the bones and frankly no closure to the bones.
I liked the pace of the book and it kept me engaged. So the ending irritated me greatly.
This is not a serious read. Don't pick it up looking to be inspired like many of the classics do for me. But if you want to get engaged in a story similar to watching TV, then you should enjoy this book.
I got it for free, but I see it is for 2.99 now. It is worth $3.