Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy and the Bible in U.S. Popular Culture

(2012) G.M. Lawrence, Q: Awakening (Variance)


Gary M. Lawrence has had great success in the business world with expertise in finance and due diligence. In addition to his business ventures he has published books on due diligence and is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law (here's his academia.edu page, which provides Lawrence's full professional and educational background in the "about" section). 

Q: Awakening is Lawrence's only novel, published through a co-publishing press that seems not longer to be in existence. According to the book, and Lawrence's dormant blog for the novelQ: Awakening is the first part of a planned trilogy; the final pages of the book include a teaser for the second novel, Q: Apocalypse, suggesting Lawrence had at least the plotline planned out. The rest of the trilogy has not materialized and the website Lawrence built for his novels is no longer operative (gmlawrence.com).

Lawrence seems to have done a great deal of work in promotion of the book before and after its appearance, but much of that internet-based promotion is also either dormant or defunct. The author's Twitter account was very active in the months leading up to and following the publication, but has been quiet for years.
Some of Lawerence's post-publication tweets direct his followers to reviewers or other sites that have since vanished. 

Like one of the earliest Gospel Thrillers, The Q DocumentQ: Awakening features the hardened and disaffected ex-scholar pulled, against his will, back into the dangerous world he left. The novel begins with the hero, Dr. Declan Stewart, surfing on the New Zealand coast; in an interview Lawrence claims he had the inspiration for the hero, and the novel, while surfing that same coastline. Lawrence's own adventurous life is part of the packaging of the novel, from his world-wide travels to consulting with a "black ops" retired colonel in the Israeli Defense Force. In another pre-publication essay, Lawrence describes his novel as a "philo-thriller" (but never actually explains what the "philo-" refers to: philosophy? philology?) and links his thinking about the discovery of Q to the fortuitous discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices. (Lawrence includes a post-script "History of Q and Making of the Story" after the novel that also includes much of this discussion of inspiration and sources.)

The last pages of the novel, which has hints of the paranormal throughout, take a briskly supernatural turn when a strange being, who might be an angel, an alien, or both (and, according to the teaser for Q: Apocalypse, is named Siobhan) appears to the young protagonist Issa and foretells a coming time of more danger and adventure.

Heroes: Declan Stewart, a surfing adventurer ex-archaeologist with a tragic history living off the grid in New Zealand; Judah Lowe, a Swiss Jewish academic who has made a tremendous discovery; a young Palestinian scholar named Amala and her uncanny child Issa (who, it is hinted, might be a messiah figure)
Villains: Shari, a Persian jihadist, and "The Syrian," both in the employ of a mad Caliph who wants to be the Mahdi
Gospel: Discovered in the past but recovered today, the authentic "Q" was written by Jesus and hidden by Paul; the scroll itself is hidden in a mystical (possibly alien?) box that only opens at the very end of the novel and, perhaps, ushers in the apocalypse

Reviews.
A review on blogcritics.org which has seen disappeared from their site was picked up by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; it praises the novel as "excellent."

The author seems to have solicited positive praise in the form of blurbs on the book, as well as commissioned (impartial) reviews from book review blogs, many of which give extremely positive reviews of the book as "Hollywood-ready."

The novel was also a finalist for the Foreword "Indie" awards (given to author-published and independent press books) in the category of Adult Thriller & Suspense. It also won in the "genre" category at the Hollywood Book Festival, an independently produced event "which honors books that deserve further attention from the film, television and multimedia communities."


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