Plot: “Wrong spot, wrong time” is a well-worn plot device, but what makes it work for this story is the suspenseful setup of the conflict between self (Cici’s religious Do-No-Harm vs. self-preservation) paired with the harsh New Mexico wilderness and the men who will stop at nothing to kill her. Adding to the suspense is Anton’s role and the question of whether he truly is a good guy. This is an action packed thriller pitting a wholly endearing reverend against nefarious international agents.
Prose/Style: Written in a clear, distinct style, Padgett uses the prose to elicit tension and emotion and creates a tense, fast-paced story. Switching from Cici’s survival to Sam’s concerns for her safety creates a nice counterbalance to the overall prose.
Originality: Set against an international spy ring hoping to create unrest in the U.S. by stealing sacred artifacts from the American Southwest, Padgett introduces a fresh take on the spy genre. Adding Cici’s religious nature (Reverend Cici) sets this book apart from most other books in the genre.
Character Development: Being the third book in the series, the characters feel very fleshed out. They know their limitations, their desires, their hopes and loves. This is evident in how Cici reacts to having to kill a man and how she tries to come to terms with her feelings for Sam (and Sam for Cici). Cici’s ability to commune with her dead sister (as well as the spirits of the Ancient Chacoan) is somewhat of a stretch, but it is handled in a way that doesn’t seem overtly gimmicky.
Date Submitted: August 20, 2019