Pissed-off rattlesnakes? Check.
Hungry Caimans? Check.
Murderous thugs and heinous villains pulling strings from afar? Check and check.
Add the forgotten tomb of an Incan Emperor into the mix, a Texan treasure hunter and a British librarian, ah—sorry Kate, make that a historian—plenty of untouched jungle and, yes, a raging underground stream and you get GOLD RIVER.
Think Die Hard, only in the Peruvian Andes.
The whole story is pure action from the moment Tom tests his latest Amazon purchase—a metal detector—in the Texan desert. That’s where the rattlesnake comes into play, just in case you wondered. Not everybody is in it for the money, Kate isn’t she wants to protect her four-year-old daughter, held hostage by the thugs. Once Tom learns she’s also his daughter, he too has other worries than riches on his mind.
The story is at full speed from the word go and never lets up until all the thugs are either knifed or beheaded or otherwise inconvenienced. Not that Tom is to blame for the beheading, that one comes courtesy of the old Incans who serve a souped-up version of the Curse of the Pharaos. Or perhaps, they sought advise from the Knights Templar, reminiscent of the Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Nobody knows, but it sure is fun to read.
If I have any gripe, I would say the cracking pace comes at the cost of characterisation. Yes, this is action, we don’t want massive character arcs, but both the format of a novella and the pacing left their mark, the protagonists either are trope (the thugs) or they are predictable (the on-site baddie). As far as the two protagonists are concerned, Dabbs gives them a good backstory and some likeable traits but they are too busy chasing the rainbow to show me much of who they really are.
I would imagine, true fans of the action genre won’t mind. They want a cracking read and that’s what they will get with GOLD RIVER. I understand, the author has more novels with these two up his sleeve and I have hopes the sequels will fulfil on the promise of this introductory glimpse.