Books, Review

Review: Tears of the Jaguar

tears of the jaguarI picked this book up on a whim through the Kindle Unlimited program. Tears of the Jaguar by AJ Hartley, an author I don’t know and a story that was readable but not satisfying.  It’s ostensibly an archaeology tale, but the archaeology practiced in the book makes me wince, as it is more the hack-and-grab kind of grave robbing that Indiana Jones might indulge in, and if that bothers you, I’ll warn you not to even pick up the book. This is not a deeply meaningful book, but if you enjoy thrillers that do globe-trotting and historical conspiracies, this may be right up your alley. For me, I’d rate this an average read – the writing is soundly executed and fairly smooth to read, but the plot is predictable and overly complex. The characters are many, and you may find as I did that it’s hard to keep track of who is who. But I did read the whole thing through, because the pacing and action are fast. One nice thing, the plot points are not so ridiculous that I couldn’t swallow them and move on. The heroine doesn’t fight off heavily armed men by herself with no weapons, for instance.

I think books like this appeal to the treasure-hunting bump many people seem to have, as well as the human desire to find obscure conspiracies in everything. There were elements in this book that rubbed me the wrong way entirely – the Englishman who decided that the poor persecuted Mayans needed his help in the 16th century, for instance. Yet another book determined to insert 21st century ideas and mores into the head of a man who would have found them utterly alien. The main character is so listless and ineffectual it was odd to read about her suddenly speeding around the world tracking down a mystery. The bludgeoning foreshadowing of why the artifacts were being sought – I knew that from the second time the author made his heavy-handed point about the patron’s daughter.

I probably won’t read another book by this author, although I will say that it was better than a couple of others in this sub-genre I’ve attempted recently. I’m not even sure what to call this. Ahistorical thrillers? Dan Brown wannabes? Ok, this one is not that bad. If you’re looking for a mindless read with Mayan history and English roundheads mixed together, this will be a good choice.