Fans of Dan Brown's novels are sure to enjoy Paul Christopher's Michelangelo's Notebook, published in 2005; this art history mystery provides edge-of-your-seat excitement. Finn Ryan, an art history student at New York University, finds a never-before-seen (and rumored to be nonexistent) drawing done by Michelangelo. The drawing is of a dissected corpse. Finn's discovery immediately leads her into great danger. That evening, her apartment is broken into and her sketches of the drawing's content are stolen. Worst of all, her boyfriend is murdered. Fearing for her life, Finn seeks safety at the home of her mother's friend, the eccentric and mysterious bookseller Michael Valentine. How exactly Finn's mother knows Valentine is revealed as a crucial part of the novel's intricate plot.
Finn's discovery of the drawing, if exposed, could lead to the dissemination of decades-old secrets involving the Vatican and the Nazi regime. Finn is on the verge of revealing both a scandal and a conspiracy. Allegedly, Pope Pius XII had an incestuous relationship with his niece, Katherine Annunzio, who ultimately gave birth to a son. He was also believed to have assisted and provided asylum for the Nazis' theft of millions of dollars worth of priceless artwork from all over Europe. Although the author says that these claims are true facts, he offers no specific proof or evidence to substantiate his claims. This is reminiscent of Dan Brown's work, which is usually preceded by a "fact" to set the tone of the novel.
Michelangelo's Notebook received many negative reviews in the wake of the overwhelming success of Dan Brown's best sellers Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nevertheless, the novel is a quick read with an interesting premise.
Paul Christopher is a pen name for author Christopher Hyde. He is also the author of The Lucifer Gospel, The Aztec Conspiracy, and Rembrandt's Ghost.