Monday, February 13, 2017

Heading to Belize - Looking for the Mask Among the Bones! Exciting Adventure Thriller!

From the first moment Jessica had walked into his office and shown him work she had done during her summer vacations while still in high school, he had known she was a born “bone-digger”. Ever since, he had helped her in any way he could. Heading the expedition to Kuchil Kan would be a great beginning to her career.

The Maya ruins of Belize include a number of well-known and 
historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites

She had been staring so intensely at the campus below, so preoccupied by her thoughts, that she had not heard Dr. Winslow enter his office. “Miss Lane, if you’re not interested in heading the Kuchil Kan expedition, I assure you, I can find someone else who is!”
“No! I mean, of course I’m interested,” Jessica stammered as she turned from the window and watched Dr. Winslow open a manila folder on his desk.
His offer to make her the head of the Kuchil Kan expedition in Belize so surprised her that she felt like she had been kicked in the stomach. Her mind fumbled with the consequences of his offer, leaving her speechless and off-balance. Entering his office fifteen minutes ago, she had been prepared to get down on her knees, beg and plead, if she had to, anything to get Dr. Winslow to change his mind about sending her back to Ek Chuah. She had to get to Kuchil Kan and follow the new evidence she had just uncovered. Now, by asking her a question composed of a few simple words, he was handing her the opportunity, not only on a platter, but wrapped and tied in a shiny bow. 
Dr. Winslow cleared his throat and eased his ponderous weight forward until his elbows were resting on the top of his desk. “Professor Scaccia contacted me yesterday and said he would prefer to continue with the Yucatan expedition at Ek Chuah. That left me with the task of selecting someone to take his place in Kuchil Kan.” Jessica paled as she heard him mention Scaccia. 
One eyebrow, thick and white as egret feathers, arched like a raised wing over watery gray eyes. “You were working in Ek Chuah with him last summer. Do you have any idea why he would suddenly drop out of the Kuchil Kan expedition and return to Ek Chuah?”
 “No,” Jessica answered quickly. Too quickly, she realized from Dr. Winslow’s reaction. But the last thing she wanted to be reminded of was working with Professor Scaccia. 
Dr. Winslow frowned as his weathered hands stretched from silk shirt cuffs. He reached for his meerschaum pipe and slowly, methodically tapped it on the ashtray, giving her more than enough time to think about her hasty answer. His watery eyes turned to steel as they bored into hers. “I hope that you’re not keeping anything from me, Miss Lane.” 
Jessica involuntarily clenched her fist, and then quickly hid it behind the folds of her long skirt. “I believe everyone is aware that Professor Scaccia and I do not see eye to eye on a lot of matters, Dr. Winslow. I imagine he saw something in one of the field journals that piqued his interest and - like a bloodhound - he’s following the trail.” She forced a half-smile on her face and Dr. Winslow matched it as he nodded and said, “I realize Roland isn’t very popular with a lot of the students. But he does get results.” 
At what cost? She wanted to shout at him. Only a quiver at the corner of her lips showed the effort she was exerting to control her anger as she forced the smile to stay in place...

Mask Among the Bones

By M. Robertson

Jessica Lane was ecstatic but still shocked that she had been asked to head the Kuchil Kan expedition by Dr. Winslow! And that Dr. Scaccia had apparently been the one to recommend her... Something was behind this--she didn't trust Scaccia and couldn't see him doing something for her without some type of motive. But she still was determined--this would be her first expedition as lead and she was going to make sure she was successful... Especially after her secret meeting and gift...

So when just getting there became a problem, she began to worry...

First she received a message that her pilot had been called away on an emergency, so she'd have to drive to meet him...requesting that she start immediately... Fortunately, she was not foolish enough to do that and instead waited until the morning...

Only to find when she got there that the pilot had himself been waiting... and he'd never sent the message she'd received...

Got to say that I was glad to have that pilot become suspicious enough that he decided to find out more... (If you are fans of The Librarians, you'll know why I selected two of those actors to play our main characters!) Besides, he had obviously, at least to readers, taken an interest in the beautiful young archaeologist! And they had arrived!

Of course, it was a rough landing when Jessica got involved with it and a crash landing resulted... Yikes!

The wind tossed her hair, waving it like a coronation banner as she joyfully kicked the loose leaves in her path. Only twenty-seven years old and she was supervising her first archaeological excavation. She laughed out loud because she knew that the university didn’t consider Kuchil Kan an important site. She had read all of the reports on the preliminary exploration that was done by a group of students two years ago. The small site in the heart of Belize was quickly abandoned as an insignificant site when the university ran out of funds. But she knew Kuchil Kan’s secrets. She knew that she would make a discovery the other team had never dreamed of making...

Jessica busies herself getting everybody involved in the work settled, but then things continue to happen again, with her tent being vandalized, clearly showing that somebody was looking for something...what she had been carrying on her body since getting there...

The thing is, there is not just one person involved...and they clearly know what she has been given, with Jessica remembering that the man had first met with Professor Scaccia. Had he sent somebody after her so they could easily steal the mask if or when she found it? The good thing is that they were not counting on her having Michael Donovan, the pilot, who, by nature, was an ethical, caring man quite willing to support Jessica in her hunt...or at least try... Because this was not going to be an easy treasure hunt!

This exciting adventure thriller is a page-turner, one that also keeps you guessing since there are so many different, strange happenings as Jessica works, first, to even get to Belize and then on to the expedition site. Then readers move toward the climatic ending when those wanting to steal the mast in order to sell it on the black market came out into the open...from every direction! I loved it! This one is highly recommended, especially for treasure hunting enthusiasts!


M. Robertson majored in Journalism with summer studies in Europe, U.K. and Mexico. Love and marriage happened while in college. Journalism turned to photography and a foray into business which followed a path of movies, electronics and a brief foray into owning a bar. Now living in the Ozarks and still married after all those adventures surrounded by two rescued corgis and a hound mix, M.Robertson is happy to be writing again.

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