This new section features a different author, publisher or bookseller each month who has earned the RLK! seal of approval! We will highlight and review their books/company as well as providing author biographies (where available) and publishing information. We hope you enjoy the new RLK! Spotlight On... feature.

Author Bio:

John Case is the pseudonym of an award-winning investigative reporter in Washington, D.C. He is also the author of two non-fiction books about the US intelligence community.

Spotlight On... would like to write more about the author in this section, but it is very hard to, as no matter how hard we tried, we could find no details on John Case - no photos, no interviews - no other details than those above. Still, that adds to the mystery of both the writer and his books.

Case's books are fiction, or so he says, but the events depicted are so vivid and so possible in our modern world, that Case leaves you thinking these events have already happened and he's just changed the names to protect the guilty!

Case has only released two works of "fiction" - but we thought we'd start the Spotlight On... section with him as he is a new author who is quickly making a name for himself.

So, lacking the author details and photograph that we would love to place here, let's move on to the books themselves!

Books Published:


Date of Release: 1997

Publisher: Arrow (Random House)

Review Source:


On the track of child killers whose empire spans the globe, dogged investigator, Joe Lassiter, uncovers a diabolical plot that gives new meaning to ecclesiastic militancy. This is a chillingly effective debut by Case which shot straight to the best seller lists. And it's easy to see why!

Joe Lassiter, the head of a transnational security firm, is devastated by the inexplicable murders of his sister Kathy and her young son Brandon. When the only suspect in the crime, a closemouthed Italian, escapes from a Virginia hospital's prison ward, he assigns himself to the case.

It's from this point that the novel really takes off and speeds towards its terrific climax. You won't be able to put it down from here!

Lassiter follows a winding trail that leads him around Europe to Naples (home of Umbra Domini, an ultraconservative Roman Catholic order committed to the church's old, preVatican II ways) and subsequently to a mountain village in Umbria. In this remote hamlet, he learns that a world-class geneticist named Ignazio Baresgi (since deceased) ran a clinic (now burned to the ground), which provided artificial-insemination services to a clientele that at one time included Kathy. Also, before Baresi went into medicine, he was a respected theologian whose specialty was relics. Although the sinister Umbra Domini, headed by a charismatic priest named Silvio della Torre, and its legions of lay adherents on both sides of the Atlantic make several attempts to eliminate him, Lassiter persists in his inquiry.

Any mortal man would have taken the hint and gone home. But not Joe Lassiter! He knows what he's up against - and he's not about to give in. He traces Dr. Baresi's only surviving patient--reclusive film star Callista Bates, who quit Hollywood cold at the height of her fame--to an island off the coast of Maine, where she lives quietly with her son, Jesse. Using Bates as a sounding board, Lassiter soon confirms his own suspicions. Before the unarmed pair can act on their insights, however, they must deal with the deranged della Torre and his homicidal minions. A first-rate biotech thriller with an intriguing and terrific ending that gives new meaning to the word "twist".


Date of Release: Nov '98

Publisher: Century (Random House)

Review Source:


In the Book of Revelations, the Four Horsemen herald the arrival of the Apocalypse. When the First Horseman thunders forth, pestilence will spread throughout the land. For the First Horseman is Plague. . .

Using the real Spanish flu, a hideous virus that killed over 20 million people in 1918, John Case, author of the hugely popular The Genesis Code, serves up a novel that will chill you to the bone. The first chapter is enough to keep you awake at night, but this relatively slim novel packs quite a punch.

Let's have a quick look at the storyline:
* In New York, a man and a woman are murdered at their home by a cult whose motivations remain mysterious.
* Meanwhile, in Tasi-ko, North Korea, a medical worker flees to the mountains to escape a disease that has decimated his village.
* North Korean soldiers pour into Tasi-ko and incinerate it.
* The CIA investigates the events at Tasi-ko, realize that the disease could well be a hybrid Spanish flu being tested as a biological weapon, recruits a team of American scientists to uncover the only known sample of the 1918 pandemic - which is frozen into the bodies of miners buried deep in the Arctic.
* Washington Post reporter Frank Daly follows their story.
* The scientists return empty-handed. The bodies had already been taken. But by who?

The plot is edge of your seat stuff and has the reader screaming for more. The characters are nothing more than cardboard-thin, but this is to be expected as it is the "situation" that is the star of this novel. Don't expect too much literary introspection and character studies...there isn't time when the whole world is under threat!

Forget Bruce Willis, comets and Armegeddon - this is a novel that is truly scary, because it's about a disaster that could happen any day. The First Horseman even gives Stephen King's The Stand and Richard Preston's Hot Zone, a run for their money. Get the bug and buy it! You'll never forget it. Highly recommended.


Now you've read the RLK! reviews of the author, what do other readers think? These reader reviews supplied courtesy of Amazon Books.


A reader from Indiana, USA , November 23, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
Real Eye-opener--WE must think before we act.
Great book of timely importance. Everyone should take heed. Today's fiction is tomorrow's reality.

LucasZ from Tucson, AZ , November 23, 1998 "4 out of 5 stars"
Generic ending
The ending of this awesome book was a lame good VS bad struggle, but the part after the ending almost made up for it with a little insight into the unwritten future this book suggests.

A reader from Mpls, Mn , November 13, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
I won't say anything, except that this was a GREAT book. I listened on tape, and could hardly wait to go to work in the morning. I was sorry to see each cassette end, but could hardly load the next fast enough.

I'm amazed at how much of the story line people put in these reviews. Although you are usually a few steps ahead of the hero in this story, it still unfolds wonderfully. There were flaws, but SO WHAT. I was very glad I hadn't read anything, or it would have spoiled a lot of the fun. Going back and reading the reviews afterwards was more interesting.

A reader from Chapel Hill, NC , November 8, 1998 "4 out of 5 stars"
A well-rounded thriller with depth
The amount of depth and detail surprised me in a novel that maintained a good level of suspense throughout. An unfair but necessary comparison is a Crichtonesque novel with less developed characters but more literary quality in plot, description, and scientific information.

Dan Wong ( from USA , October 12, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
The ending is wonderful
I tremendously enjoyed this book. Although there are areas that are not quite as convincing and the main character is a bit too well connected, the story presented is still very fascinating. I particularly enjoy the ending of the book, which gave me a jolt that lasted on me for long time. I strongly recommend this book for anybody seeking a good suspense reading, it has the same quality as "The Firm".

A reader from North Eastern United States , October 9, 1998 "4 out of 5 stars"
Action-packed and suspenseful with humor and irony
This book is a "must-read" for anyone who enjoys drama and suspense, and also who enjoys a good debate on ethics and morality. This book will leave you wondering, questioning and hungry for more John Case. The perfect book for mind-bending and provocation. If you enjoy a book filled with suspense, action and the possiblity of reality, you've got to check it out! from West Coast , October 7, 1998 "4 out of 5 stars"
"The Genesis Code" is a hard to put down thrilling book.
I very much enjoyed reading "The Genesis Code". It was hard to put down and I looked forward to each chapter as we got closer to the answers. Any other books John Case comes out with will definetly be read by me. Try a few out and see.

A reader from US , September 28, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
Spellbinding and chilling story of religious terrorism.
Once started, literally couldn't put it down. Full impact hidden until the last sentense. Vatican II relationship seems to be historically accurate.

THE FIRST HORSEMAN: from Milton, Wisconsin , November 14, 1998 "3 out of 5 stars"
Reasonably plausible twist to an overused storyline
Biological thrillers are becoming so prevalent that they are losing their appeal. For some reason, television and the movies haven't caught up yet, but watch out when they do--we'll all get "sick" of them in a hurry! This plot actually seemed plausible for the most part (until the invasion of the compound and subsequent sewer chase). Characters were introduced in small bits and only the important ones carried on, which made this a fun, easy to follow book. "Case" does need to tone down the emphasis on individual words. Almost every page has at least one, and usually several, italicized words to show emphasis. It's as if he doesn't think we can get into the book enough to imagine the voice inflections the characters would have used. I found this incredibly distracting and unnecessary. Other than that, it's a decent book that can provide some entertainment and even makes one wonder a little.

A reader from Holden, Massachusetts , October 29, 1998 "3 out of 5 stars"
Not in a league with The Genesis Code
Like many of you, I read and truly enjoyed Case's "The Genesis Code". Case's writing style is captivating and yields a "fun" read. But, (always a but...) this second outing was somewhat disjointed and meandering. First, we're in North Korea (with a character that is never seen again), then in Washington with the "sure fire" ring of covert government officials (again, most of whom never continue on), then in Russia... I would have liked to see a more coherent plot development, and less "pin ball" from Case.

A reader from McLean, Virginia , September 28, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
Mind-blowing story reveals tomorrow's headlines today
Wow! As Case proved in "The Genesis Code," he's a brilliant writer who knows the intelligence "community" inside-out. His characters are real, and the subject-matter is always fascinating. This time, he takes us to a very spooky place where new-age gurus, biological warfare, and apocalypse converge. Nobody does it better---not Ludlum, and not Le Carre. Trust me: if the first chapter doesn't grab you, you might want to check your pulse for vital signs. (I know one thing: I'll never look at a U-Haul---or the Staten Island ferry---the same way again.)

A reader from Pasadena , September 27, 1998 "5 out of 5 stars"
An excellent, thrilling read.
I won't give away the plot, but I can say it's a page turner, a scary read, excellent characters, and unfortunately (a good thing) believable. I'm an avid thriller reader and I can rate Blood Work (Connelly-wow) and Alien Rapture (Steiger's best!) as HIGHLY recommended reads also. Yes, you should buy this book.


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