LOST LOOT OF LIMA by Chris Fox

LOST LOOT OF LIMA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Fox’s debut adventure novel, a couple stumbles upon what may be pieces of a long-lost treasure, which piques the interest of greedy cartel members.

Kyle Macdonald finds a gold coin during a dive off Cocos Island with his girlfriend, Jenny Whiting. He suspects it’s from a legendary treasure that once belonged to the city of Lima, Peru. An American captain and his crew were transporting the loot in the early 19th century, tried to steal it for themselves, and reputedly stashed it before they were lost at sea. Kyle and Jenny register their find at the island’s ranger station, but the ranger, Emilio Gonzalas, already has a deal with the cartel. He gives them a heads-up about the claim, and two men grab Jenny and hijack Kyle’s ship, Pegasus. They head to Colombia and hold Jenny for ransom, as only her boyfriend knows the coordinates to the discovered treasure. Kyle, with the help of a Peruvian group hoping to retrieve the country’s valuables, puts together a team to rescue her. This novel has a multifaceted protagonist in the Canadian Kyle, who served eight years in the armed forces and has training in bomb disposal; he’s also a successful businessman who co-owns an American company and owns a Cocos Island hotel. Fox gives his character a rich back story, as well: Kyle lost his wife years ago and later had an affair with a married woman, Anna, who was one of his hotel employees. The narrative’s descriptive passages are meticulously detailed, which generally works in the story’s favor—particularly when it gives context for nautical jargon or describes aquatic creatures, such as a Pacific manta ray that resembles “a giant Portobello mushroom.” Other times, however, the particulars are excessive; a backgrounder on cocaine and an explanation of global positioning systems, for example, are simply unnecessary, as are specifics about mundane actions, such as Kyle’s elevator ride. Fox shakes the story up, however, with turbulence in the main characters’ relationship: Kyle bumps into an old love interest, while Jenny finds herself strangely attracted to Ricardo, one of her captors. The book’s latter half is an action-packed romp, as a daring rescue takes the team on an extended chase.

A thriller with sound action and a reliable protagonist, but it falls victim to overelaboration.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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