Friday, August 29, 2014

Left Turn at Paradise: A Rare Book Mystery by Thomas Shawver

Michael Bevan is struggling to keep his used bookstore alive.  The traditional mode of bookselling has been shaken up by the arrival of ebooks and companies like Amazon.  He's not sure if he can continue his business or if he's going to have to close his shop and go into another endeavor.  He doesn't want to close the shop.  When he finds an old document left to him by it's previous owner, he's suddenly a lot more hopeful.

Alibi and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your bookstore for a copy.

Michael is a character that is a bit wishy-washy to me.  He has a woman he loves, a business he loves, and yet he's willing to take chances.  Does that mean he's weak or is he just human?

When he finds the old document hidden in other papers, he's amazed to see it's part of a journal written about Captain Cook.  When he takes it to the book show to see what he might be offered for it, he finds out that the journal is in three volumes.  He has volume one, another seller has volume two, and there is a purported volume three.  Unfortunately, that's in the middle of a jungle in a foreign country.  Here's where Michael shows his colors.  He leaves his girlfriend with the shop and goes off with the other sellers to find the third volume.  That in itself isn't so bad, but then he ends up sleeping with the female partner of the other shop.  Sigh...

The man that has the third volume is the female partner's father.  She hasn't seen her parents for years and has no desire to do so now, but will go along for the treasure to be recovered.  This trip is a tour through hell.  They have to hike through the jungle, avoid drowning in the rivers and being baked by the volcano, and attempt to be friendly with local natives.  Her father is crazy, the witch doctor is trying to take control, and the natives are superstitious and not friendly.  

This is about as far as you can get from a bookstore, folks.  It is an exciting and interesting tale.  And the ending is very ironic.  I liked it.  Why don't you give it a try?

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