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Teri Fink
The Clovis Dig
Teri Fink, author

When a shocking discovery is found among ancient artifacts during an archaeological dig in an orchard, an investigation of a different kind begins. Orchardist Claire Courtney must decide who to trust as she desperately tries to salvage what’s left of her livelihood and her life.

Amidst the beauty of the Wenatchee Valley at the feet of the Cascade Mountains, apple orchardist Claire Courtney struggles to make a living.

When strange and ancient artifacts are discovered beneath her land, Claire wonders whether the ensuing archaeological dig will save her, or be the final blow in her struggle to hang onto her home and livelihood. To make matters worse, conflict between the archaeologists on the dig—Joe Running from the west, and Spencer Grant from the east—threatens the entire project.

This multicultural novel brings together Native Americans, Latinos, and migrant workers from The American South to grapple over ownership of what lies beneath the earth.

Fink (Invisible by Day) marries the genres of romance and suspense in this history-exploring tale of Claire Courtney, a bereaved orchard grower in East Wenatchee, Washington, who turns up not only ancient artifacts of the Clovis people but also a body buried on her farm. When Claire calls Washington State University, her alma mater, to report the artifacts, she is reluctant to allow Joe Running to come see the “Clovis points,” but permits him to set up a preliminary dig. Word of the authenticity of her findings quickly spread to, among others, handsome archaeologist Spencer Grant and the Colville Confederated Tribes. Soon, Courtney’s orchard is a bustling archeological site filled with scheming characters, budding romances, racial tensions—and, eventually, that body, and an attempt at arson. When the drama finally ceases, the novel retires to develop its main romantic storyline.

Claire is a compelling if distant protagonist who scratches at the restrictions of traditional femininity. Despite her strength, she frequently steps out of the way so that Spencer or the Sheriff can take the lead in a story as concerned with contemporary property rights as the ancient history being excavated. That said, with the help of her stubbornness, the novel’s resolution offers a glimmer of hope for a satisfying relationship just outside the societal norm.

The historically accurate backdrop of the 1987 Clovis Dig is intriguing, but characters drive the story: in conflict with each other for prestige, or love. Most of the leads are written convincingly, often with a touch of local color to represent where they come from, though Fink at times missteps when writing Native Americans, the “huge hombre” crime boss known as “El Gordo,” or the graduate student in anthropology who casually refers to her migrant worker parents as “illegals.” Otherwise, A Clovis Dig skillfully delivers on its murder mystery plot as well as its romantic and suspenseful subplots.

Takeaway: Excavating the past digs up romance and danger.

Great for fans of: A.C. Fuller’s Alex Vane Media Thriller series, Shining Light’s Saga.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

New Novel by Teri Fink to be Released

The Clovis Dig will be released on May 3, 2021. Available for pre-publication purchase at your favorite online bookseller, or at the Evolved Publishing.