As a lot of you know, I’m a publisher as well as an author. You may also know that I do the podcast circuit. So it isn’t unusual for other presses to reach out to me to interview the author of a book they have coming out. Perpetual Motion Machine Press did that with Antioch, and while reading it I thought, I should review this book. And here we are.
Antioch by Jess Leonard is a thriller. It has all the elements of a thriller, it has a serial killer, a strong woman who lives alone, the possibility of corruption with red herrings and perhaps a deep dark rabbit hole of conspiracies that swirl around the story like a maelstrom of constant confusion and obfuscation.
The first thing I noticed was that this book read like watching a movie, it had cinematic beats, tropes I have seen in crime movies and ghost movies, but mingled together in a way that reminded me heavily of 2013’s “Gothika”.
The first chapter was good, really good, it introduced ideas and concepts and ideas that seemed minute in the moment but were interesting, allowing the seeds to rest and later fully bloom into something dark and sinister. I almost set the book aside during the second chapter, a slice of life for the protagonist, but I pushed through because of the power of the first chapter. And I was rewarded because the book didn’t slow down from there. I don’t know that I would call it a non-stop thrill ride, but it was constantly engaging and constantly interesting.
There are places where the narrative is harder to follow than others, but by the time you finish will understand how and why things come together the way they do.
Antioch is a puzzle, made of pain, anger, and deception, putting it together is delightful is somewhat unnerving.