Mary Ann Evans
Poisoned Pen Press
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". . . a treasure map of the human heart."
Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. If the mousetrap holds the secret of immunity to AIDS, the price is blood and fire.
Faye Longchamp has been appointed to her first archeological post in the field. It will take her from the warmth of her quiet flatland home on a Florida island and force her into the freezing upper reaches of the mountain peaks of Alabama to find the jealously held secret of the Sujosa.
The Sujosa are offered government money in return for their stories and their immunity to AIDS, a secret they hide in their blood. This forgotten community teetering on the edge of poverty and dwindling resources looks cautiously at the hand that offers to feed them. They know from bitter experience not to trust outsiders, but you don’t bite the hand that holds the money.
Faye is quickly thrust into intrigue and death when the project historian, Carmen Martinez, dies in a fire that, at first glance, looks like an accident. However, the nearly impervious metal briefcase containing the transcripts of the Sujosa’s oral histories is missing. Why would someone steal Carmen’s notes? The answer is in Faye’s copies of the transcripts and the murderer is ready to kill again.
Mary Anna Evans takes history, archeology, science, and intrigue and molds them into what initially appears to be a search for Relics. What she ends up with is a treasure map of the human heart. Moving from the strictly ordered world of archeology and science into the real world where greed, hope, and memory struggle to survive, Evans carefully and methodically excavates broken pottery and constructs lively, interesting, and volatile characters who fashion warmth and color from hidden treasure. The only flaw in Relics is that its break neck pace leaves the story too quickly over.
Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell