cover image Come In and Cover Me

Come In and Cover Me

Gin Phillips. Riverhead, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-59448-844-3

Though Phillips’s second novel initially seems like a Harlequin romance for intellectuals (albeit one gussied up with necromancy and archeology), the result proves surprisingly moving. Haunted by memories of her brother, Scott (who died in a car accident when she was 12), 37-year-old Santa Fe archeologist Ren Taylor must literally release the ghosts of her past in order to pursue a promising romance with her colleague, Silas. Despite a banal and predictable plot, Phillips (The Well and the Mine) adroitly sidesteps sentiment, enriching Ren’s world with depth and detail. While studying the Mimbres tribes of the Southwest, Ren utilizes her gift of seeing and communicates with ghosts at the sites she excavates to find out where to dig and how the uncovered artifacts were used. Ren’s passion for personalizing her work, attributing artifacts to specific individuals and striving to tell their stories, causes disagreements with Silas, who can’t believe her approach really works. In this and other exchanges, Phillips nicely illustrates the conflict between masculine reason and feminine intuition. (Jan.)