Bad Faith
Robert K. Tannenbaum
Gallery Books 12012
392 pages

Author Robert K. Tanenbaum is a prominent U.S. Attorney who is undefeated when it comes to felony cases.  His latest Butch Karp thriller, Bad Faith, is a thriller whose premise is particularly compelling. Kindle at Amazon

Karp, the New York District Attorney, is embroiled in two serious cases.  One throws into question the cornerstone of American values:  the right to practice religion.  The other is a deadly threat to national security.

Bad Faith begins when paramedics are anonymously summoned to save a dying child. They are blocked by staunch believers; members of a fringe religious group headed by the outspoken, controversial and influential Reverend C. G. Westlund.  The End of Days Reformation Church of Jesus Christ Resurrected refutes medical intervention and relies solely on great faith and fervent prayer for miraculous healing.  In this case, it doesn’t come.

The parents are charged with reckless manslaughter, beginning an intense controversy and media frenzy over religious freedom and parental rights.

Meanwhile, a terrorist group is plotting a major Jihad.  Karp’s nemesis, the alluring and dangerous Nadya Malovo is working both sides, infiltrating the cell for the Feds, in exchange for a place in the witness protection program, but is she to be completely trusted?

Bad Faith by Robert K. Tannenbaum contains a little bit of everything:  Religion, murder, revenge, deceit and exploitation, with parallels that are particularly compelling.  Questions regarding good/God and evil, freedom, fanaticism, and false prophets are interesting and thought provoking.

A lot happens.  Although important to the story, the structure and leadership of underground world of the Mole People with its religious connotations provides an unrealistic feel which is a bit much for this reader to swallow.  Then there’s The Sons of Man, another clandestine group to remember.

This is a case where less would have been better.  The plot is sometimes choppy and less cohesive.  Flashbacks don’t help.  At times, the text is messy and could use some serious editing, e.g.  “The police were still trying to determine if the murder of a man, whose identity was not being released pending notification of next of kin, on the parade route at Sixth Avenue and 8th Street was related to the terrorist act, according to the Post.”  Wow!  And there’s more!

The dust jacket almost requires a spoiler alert, as it provides information that in this reader’s opinion is best uncovered during the reading process.  Another pet peeve is that two important characters are named David.

Bad Faith by Robert K. Tannenbaum is perhaps better than no faith at all but some may beg to differ.