Thomas Holladay

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 385 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9781436392747 Reviewed: October, 2012 Author Website: Visit »

This contemporary adventure sweeps the reader from the fictional West Indies island of Saint Arcane to a mountaintop in Brazil in search of treasure lost at sea hundreds of years ago. There are vicious monkeys, enormous snakes, poison darts, villains, an old witch, and a crystal skull that pulsates and radiates evil.

Michael is an architect and Marine reservist who flies to Saint Arcane to meet up with his famous girlfriend Katrina, a singer and a committed Christian who is dedicated to abstinence until she is married. The couple meet Jacob Hatch and his lover Angelique, who convince the pair to help them find a lost treasure that could make them all fabulously rich. Hatch, however, is not the only one hungry to find the gold bars and large uncut gems; there are deadly pursuers about who will stop at nothing to get the treasure for themselves.

All the right ingredients are here for an exhilarating thriller. Unfortunately, the author has weighed down this potentially exciting ride with a heavy load of extreme right-wing ideology, which includes issues such as pregnancy resulting from rape, Freemasonry, the nature of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and the place of women in society. (For example, when Katrina asks Angelique what she would do if Hatch left her for another woman, Angelique answers, “I would sleep at the foot of their bed and fix them breakfast in the mornings.”)

Another disappointment is that so few of the characters are likable. Katrina is portrayed as a condescending, nagging, complaining layabout. Michael lacks any spark of personality.

Despite numerous misspellings and dropped words, the writing is adequate, and the pacing is just right. But due to the issues mentioned, what might have been a rollicking adventure on the high seas ends up a disappointing slog through the shallows in a flat-bottomed boat laden down with unnecessary freight.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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