Searching for a rumored treasure puts a man and his friends in danger when an unknown party joins the hunt in the second of Hatt’s (A Light in the Darkness, 2013, etc.) thriller series.
It’s business as usual for Haszard, who runs a framing shop. A recent job, however, catches girlfriend Sabrina’s attention: the piece to be framed is an old map of the area where her grandparents grew up. The map also reminds Sabrina of a reputed treasure involving her grandmother’s ancestors. Back in the mid-19th century, two lovers ran off together with their families’ valuables. They left clues about the location of the stashed jewelry, hoping the feuding families would unite to find the loot. Haszard and Sabrina try making sense of cryptic passages on the map; but someone else also wants the riches. Haszard suspects they’re being followed, and soon his suspicions are confirmed when strangers break into both his shop and house. While Haszard and Sabrina’s treasure hunt seems to be the main plot, there’s a (mostly) competing storyline featuring Haszard as a detective of sorts. A bogus website advertises Haszard’s investigative services. He eventually learns it’s a prank, which he tells a woman responding to the ad, though the pseudo-client still hires him. These investigations—one follows an allegedly adulterous spouse—have only a slight connection to the treasure hunt and tend to stall the action. The search for the jewelry, however, is certainly diverting, and readers will delight in the couple solving each riddlelike passage. And the search, which friends ultimately join, is irrefutably perilous: the baddies, in due course, make their presence known, and Haszard receives a knock on the noggin (courtesy of walking into what he believes is a home invasion)—a frighteningly realistically described injury that leaves him sidelined and hurting.
The multiple plots don’t always mesh or engage, but the central storyline will hook readers.