When I first picked up Glenn Cooper's Secret of the Seventh Son, the book cover reminded me a bit of a Dan Brown novel. The story is similar to a Brown novel in that it blends modern-day characters with religion, history, ancient buildings and secrecy.

When I first picked up Glenn Cooper's Secret of the Seventh Son, the book cover reminded me a bit of a Dan Brown novel. The story is similar to a Brown novel in that it blends modern-day characters with religion, history, ancient buildings and secrecy.

The main character, Will Piper, is a womanizing, high-functioning alcoholic who works for the FBI to solve serial-killer cases. He's become well-known to the public as the agency's top profiler and for success on a number of cases until he has a blowup.

He's demoted and works out a deal with the agency to be given low-profile, desk duty work until he reaches his retirement, which is only months away.

Not much time passes before he is put back on a high-profile case as he's called in to work on the Doomsday Killer case in New York City with a partner he doesn't much like. His partner ends up having a stroke and being taken off the case, and Piper is partnered with a younger female novice in the agency, Nancy Lipinski. Initially he doesn't much care for her, but with time, as she loses some excess weight and the two become better acquainted, quite the opposite becomes true.

The two of them work the case without any leads except for postcards with a coffin and the date of each victim's death. The postcards are the only key Piper and Lipinski have to unlock the mystery surrounding the deaths. After investigating all leads, the two find they aren't much further along in the case until Piper picks up on the fact that the person sending the cards uses an old typewriter font.

Mark Shackleton, Will Piper's freshman year roommate in college, is an MIT-educated computer programmer who works at the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. Shackleton, who dreams of leaving behind his work at Area 51 to become a famous writer, submits screenplays that are quickly rejected. In an attempt to reach this sought-after fame and fortune, the high-IQ programmer finds a way to steal information from Area 51 in exchange for $5-million.

Piper puts the pieces of the puzzle together to pin his old college roommate, Shackleton, as the Doomsday killer after reading his screenplays. Despite being taken off the Doomsday case for unspecified reasons after pegging Shackleton as the killer, Piper decides to hunt him down anyway.

Piper figures it is Shackleton's way of avenging him for a grudge held after Shackelton was the subject of a college prank. Shackleton and Piper are both wanted by authorities at all costs for the stolen information. However, not all is what it seems as Piper and Shackleton flee authorities and Shackelton reveals the Area 51 secret to Piper.

The book , Cooper's first novel, will leave you questioning what you think you know about the government, the government's ability to predict and prevent major catastrophes and the secret work done at Area 51. An introduction to the sequel to this book, Book of Souls, which is scheduled to be released in 2010, can be found in the back of the book.