Good books (2.5 to 3.5)

The Cursed Treasure [Travers and Redmond #2], by Desmond G. Palmer

3.5 out of 5 stars. A story that wants to be a lot of things simultaneously. Recommended if you crave some popcorn movie feeling in the shape of literature.

3.5 stars

This is the second installment in the Travers and Redmond series, but as I’m late to the party, I haven’t read the first part. So we’ll have to see how well this book works as a stand alone, right? Let’s get cracking.

This review is part of a Love Books Tour. Check out the other reviews! (They’re on Instagram)

Of course, being new to the party means I don’t know the people here, in this case Natasha Travers and Lucas Redmond. I’m getting acquainted with them during the first pages, but it’s immediately clear there is more history between the two of them then is being shown. If you’ve read the first book, you might know more about it and Lucas’ affair than I do. You might also know more about their professions – apparently Natasha is an archeologist, but also quite the fighter when it comes to melee combat. And Lucas? Not sure about him – but the way he thinks about using a knife makes me mark him as a stone cold killer. Maybe an assassin of sorts? Whatever he is – there must be something that ties him to Natasha. They’re a curious couple, that’s for sure.

But whatever they are, they’re partners in crime – quite literally, as we open the book with the pair of them trying to gain the trust of and access to a tribe of amazonian fighters in Columbia, just to steal a necklace. They’re calling themselves The Acquirers, and acquiring that necklace means Natasha has to fight her way into the sisterhood.

Don’t mess with Natasha, for your own health.

If you take a look at the book cover, the name Indiana Jones might pop up in your mind. While Harrison Ford is supposed to return to his whip-lashing prime role that started his career for good in 2023 (Indy 5, believe it or not), he’ll be an old man. (Sorry, Harrison, there’s no sense denying your age.) But if Indiana Jones would be a young and ass-kicking woman, Natasha she would be. (Although Indy would probably try to return the necklace to a museum and get into trouble with Nazis along his way. All in a day’s work, right?)

Back to the story, there are some harebrained things there. Like Natasha and Lucas are getting divorced, and both sign over their half of the business to the other, which ends up with them still being partners and each one owning (the other) half of the business. I can’t see any lawyer going through with this without contacting their clients and asking for new instructions, but then again I think Desmond saw that as a way out of the pit he’s dug himself into it. Now they are divorced but still partners, which means the Trevors/Redmond series can go on.

Travers and Redmond, to my inner eye, for the first third of the story. I had to change them after that.

And go on it does. After the introductory bit in Columbia, the story takes flight. I soon had the feeling of being thrown into a barrel with too many names in it, and I think this novel has pacing issues. Suddenly, there’s a lot of stuff happening all at once, and too me it looks like Desmond is a juggler trying to keep too many balls in the air at the same time. Which means some will get dropped. And weird stuff happens, like people having a civilized conversation in a stairwell while being chased by a killer with two sharp knives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about civilized conversations, but there’s a time and a place for it. Having a slasher breathing down my neck is neither one.

And with this, we uncovered the true problem of the plot. There is a lot of fantastic stuff, random encounters and events woven into the plot, to get the protagonists mixed up with a lot of stuff. Like I said, juggling too many balls, dropping some. To really get into the story, we don’t talk about simple suspension of disbelief – no, the disbelief has to be murdered. And buried in a lead coffin. Which has to be thrown into the deepest end of a lake.

Now that I’ve come to think about it – this has all the hallmarks of a Jason Statham movie. You know, the popcorn snacking kind of action movie where it’s best not to think about what you’re watching right now, but rather enjoy the trip while it lasts. So, starting at this point, I’ll change my mental picture of Travers and Redmond. I’m now going to cast Jason Statham as Redmond and Alicia Vikander (2018’s Lara Croft) as Travers. And instead of a thriller plot, I’m now expecting a Hollywood action plot. The plot gets renamed to Spot again. (You’ll have to read this review if you haven’t met Spot before.)

Spot the plot. He’s as clueless as I am about what’s going on here. But we’re in for the ride, right, Spot? Good boy.

So, what’s the final verdict? For me, it’s a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The main problem stays the juggling of too many balls. Is this Tomb Raider? Partly, yes. Action movie? Yes. Conspiracy thriller? Yes. Supernatural or religious thriller? Yes. Romance? Well, no, but Lucas can’t keep it in, that’s for sure.

It’s trying to be all of that at the same time, and sometimes (or rather, often) logic is sacrificed to get to the next point of action fast. You would be hard pressed to find roads even in rural third world countries with holes bigger than the plot holes here. That being said, if you fancy some fast paced action without thinking too much and a conspiracy to boot, then you’ll be happy picking this series up.

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy and am leaving this review voluntarily.

By Stefan

father of two, not enough time to read everything I want to read

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