Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mayan culture plus Amazon tribes equals more energy than a cold-fusion reaction

Black Rain
Graham Brown

Susan T's review of this just a few short days ago had me scrambling for my Kindle to download it immediately! A society that is the source of the Mayan story, an isolated Amazonian tribe notorious for their blood-lust, and the rumors of cold fusion to solve the world's energy crisis - these three seemingly unrelated plots were brilliantly woven together as Danielle Laidlaw, field agent for a covert government agency, leads a team of civilians and ex-pats deep into the Amazon to unravel all three mysteries. However, her intentions aren't what they seem and danger soon catches up to them as they are tracked by humans and mysterious animals, contact with either results in a vicious death.

I couldn't get enough of the Mayan history that was the basis of this story - I love anthropology, religion, and science and felt like a kid in a candy shop with every page I turned! While Brown took liberal rights with Mayan stories, the basis of them were grounded in fact, which I feel always makes a story better for me...and sends me searching the internet for the real stories to compare the fiction too. I really liked the characters and, while I didn't connect to every single one of them, I did connect to most of the main ones - especially Dr. McCarter who was enough of a nerd to have me smiling every time he opened his mouth to share a new and exciting fact with his comrades. Less than impressive was Brown's lack of vivid descriptions of the physical surroundings. He talked about temples and alters but I had trouble picturing them from his descriptions. I also felt like the story repeated itself over and over, with a new nugget of information being revealed at the end of each lap - minor conflict, full-fledged fight, people injured, regrouping, epiphany, repeat.

Despite a little bit of redundancy in the middle (which the great plot kept me plodding through) this book was a surprise hit from a debut novelist! Several twists and turns and a nice little contemporary tie-in at the end has me awaiting Graham Brown's sophomore publication :)

Ummmm, but hello? What happened with Danielle and Hawker?! Definitely a disappointment when it came to the subtle romantic storyline But, seeing as Mr. Brown is a MISTER and I have an affinity to any story that even hints at romance, I will let this one slide. But there better be some follow-through next time! lol

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