My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This second entry in the Nora Kelly (& also Corrie Swanson, please!) offshoot series continues to deliver what their readers come for: fast-paced Southwestern adventure with archaeological detail & two very likable & competent female leads. Preston & Child know how to fine-tune a thriller to the last detail, tucking in all the loose ends. If some of the plot points are a little -- or more than a little -- over the top, experienced fans aren't much fussed. Solid quiet realism is not what these authors are known for.
That said, I still reached the end of this adventure (way too late at night) wondering whether to give it three or four stars out of five. I finally went with four, because I love New Mexico & anything to do with the archaeology there. However, the ending of this one wound up quite abruptly, & with (even) more than the usual amount of deus ex machina. Without committing spoiler, I was annoyed that Nora & Corrie weren't allowed to do more & figure out more for themselves. I didn't mind Pendergast's eventual appearance -- I'd have been disappointed if he hadn't shown up -- but he did more than I was expecting.
I'll definitely continue reading this series, so long as it retains its Southwestern focus. I'm just hoping to be less aware of the formula behind the craftsmanship next time.
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