Beautiful Sacrifice

Elizabeth Lowell. Morrow, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-162986-0
Houston-based archeologist Lina Taylor and former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Hunter Johnson join forces to locate four ancient Mayan artifacts that turned up during a drug bust and then vanished. Clues point variously to grave robbers trying to sell the valuable pieces on the black market, narco lords using them in ritual killings, the revival of an ancient cult, and Lina’s own shady aristocratic family in Mexico. As Lina and Hunter dodge bullets and trade wisecracks across the Southwest, Lowell (Death Echo) deftly incorporates creepy basement corpse discoveries, sleazy antiquities dealers, crumbling jungle tombs, charmingly sinister relatives, fascinating archeological elements, and a well-realized, completely invented Mayan god. Less deftly handled is the attraction between Lina and Hunter; their turgid ruminations often read like an awkward second skin stretched tightly over the primary story. But these moments are scarce as Lowell quickly and smartly returns to the breakneck pace of her intriguing narrative. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/12/2012
Release date: 05/22/2012
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