Do you love old pulp detective stories about buried treasure and cults? Well, have I got the book for you.
Plot: Mara Reed is a confidence artist with a heart of gold, trying to clear One Last Score before buying an island somewhere and retiring. Her last job? Finding a mysterious 70 year old treasure of stolen Spanish gold. And avoid the very well funded people trying to kill her long enough to do it. Her first love, who she robbed and abandoned about 20 years ago, a Doesn’t-Even-Have-A-Parking-Ticket forensic anthropologist, is also on the same trail, because the papers expected to be found with the gold will have immense scientific value. Shenanigans ensue.
This book hits all the notes for a romantic suspense novel. It moves fairly quickly, with a lot of action, and explosions and kidnapping and murder and car chases and betrayal and treasure maps hidden in plain sight. Emotions run Telenovela high and fluctuate about as wildly, with intensely dramatic back stories that perfectly line up with the current mystery.
If you like a mystery with a very obvious solution, this won’t be it. It takes the characters the whole book to solve this mystery and you won’t solve it faster because the characters are sharing essential information with the reader as they discover it. That said, if you’re annoyed by Sherlock style convenient solves where the author just retcons a bunch of evidence that was never on the page so it was impossible for you to get to the same place Sherlock did, you’ll find this a satisfying alternative.
Finally, a content warning. This book includes ongoing threats of sexual violence, a vague (but effective) description of sexual violence and murder of a woman off screen, and child abuse at the hands of religious zealots.
And of course, Stacey Abrams wrote it. So it has that.