(Michael J. Byrnes)
Married; children: two daughters. Education: Montclair State University, B.S.; Rutgers University, M.B.A.
Home—NJ. Agent—Mulcahy & Viney Ltd., 15 Canning Passage, Kensington, London W8 5AA, England.
Founder and chief executive officer of an insurance brokerage firm in NJ.
The Sacred Bones (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.
Michael Byrnes is the founder of a highly successful insurance brokerage business in New Jersey, but his free time is devoted to writing. Byrnes's debut novel, The Sacred Bones, is an archeological thriller/mystery set in Jerusalem at the Temple Mount. When an artifact is stolen from beneath the mount and those responsible leave a bloody trail in their wake, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis are ratcheted up yet another notch. The Vatican steps in, hiring an American forensic scientist named Charlotte Hennesey to work with Italian anthropologist Giovanni Bersei to investigate the scene. Byrnes takes the tension to still a higher level when Hennesey and Bersei discover evidence suggest- ing that the skeleton buried beneath the mount might be the remains of Jesus. Several critics compared Byrnes's debut to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Jeff Ayers, writing for Library Journal, remarked that "back stories and discussion are clunky at times, halting the narrative pace," and called the story "improbable." A Kirkus Reviews contributor found the book "unimpressive." Terry South, however, asserted on the Quality Book Reviews Blog that "Byrnes has penned a superbly crafted debut novel that tantalizes with a sense of drama and of suspense as the story races forward. It is evident that he has done a great deal of research."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bookseller, July 7, 2006, "Byrnes' Debut Sells," p. 13.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of The Sacred Bones, p. 1232.
Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Jeff Ayers, review of The Sacred Bones, p. 62.
Mary Martin,http://www.marymartin.com.au/ (June 1, 2007), Denise Pickles, review of The Sacred Bones.
Mulcahy & Viney Ltd. Web site,http://www.mvagency.com/ (August 22, 2007), profile of Michael Byrnes.
Quality Book Reviews Blog,http://terrysouth.livejournal.com/ (August 22, 2007), Terry South, review of The Sacred Bones.