cover image The Death Relic

The Death Relic

Chris Kuzneski. Putnam, $26.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-399-15899-5

Former Special Forces operatives David Jones and Jonathon Payne race to the rescue of Jones’s old girlfriend, Italian archeologist Maria Pelati, in Kuzneski’s fast-moving seventh thriller featuring the wisecracking duo (after 2012’s The Secret Crown). At the invitation of American anthropologist Terrence Hamilton, Maria leaves Rome for Cancún, Mexico, where Hamilton, a Mayan expert, tells her he needs her help with an important discovery he’s made. When Hamilton is kidnapped, Maria calls in Jones and Payne, who soon get on the trail of a Mayan super weapon known as “the Death Relic” and a treasure hidden beneath a pyramid. As usual, Jones and Payne joke incessantly with themselves and others, while various scientists and historians recite long swaths of exposition. Readers who find the sophomoric jokes funny will enjoy the hijinks. Those looking for a thriller with action beyond the occasional gun battle should search elsewhere. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media. (Jan.)