The Jerusalem Puzzle
Date Published03 January 2013
Price£ 6.99

The Jerusalem Puzzle

by Laurence O'Bryan

Archaeologist Max Kaiser is dead and Dr Susan Hunter is missing. Sean Ryan and his partner Isabel Sharp travel to Jerusalem in search of both Susan and answers, with terrifying consequences.


The Jerusalem Puzzle is the second novel in a series by new author Laurence O’Bryan. This historical/religious thriller is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s novels and just as enthralling. The story follows Sean Ryan and his partner Isabel Sharp as they try to uncover the details behind archaeologist Max Kaiser’s grisly murder and the disappearance of Dr Susan Hunter, who was translating an ancient manuscript that Sean had discovered in Istanbul in the previous book, The Istanbul Puzzle.

Bodies are being discovered and tensions are rising between Egypt and Israel. Sean and Isabel are worried that there is no news of Dr Hunter and that no one is looking for her, so they travel to Jerusalem to try to find her, but soon find themselves in a perilous situation fueled by an ancient evil.

Those who haven’t read the previous book need not be concerned as any relevant plot lines are conveniently slotted into the right places, and the well-written characters have a familiar feel. I got into the book quickly and cared about what happened to Sean and Isabel. Short, sharp chapters move the story quickly forward, switching between Jerusalem and the UK, with longer chapters where needed and some heart in the mouth moments kept me turning the pages.

O’Bryan throws in some complicated and ambiguous characters, which give an extra dimension to the story. The Jerusalem Puzzle also has a good sense of place that helps to bring the story to life, and sure enough at the end of the book there are a few pages devoted to photos and a description of his trip to Jerusalem.

The only minor issue I had with the book was that it was all too easy to forget that Sean was meant to be American, as the character has many English mannerisms and his voice always comes over as very English in his word choices. But that is no more than a minor niggle and when O’Bryan’s next installment moves the story to New York, I’ll look forward to discovering the answer to that puzzle.

Reviewed 22 January 2014 by Laura Parkin