On My Bookshelf: The Antiquities Hunter by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Title: The Antiquities Hunter
Author: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 3/5

When P.I. Gina learns her best friend Rose has a stalker, she’s hired as Rose’s bodyguard. The stalker is most likely trying to deter Rose, an undercover agent, from testifying about stolen artifacts. Gina tries to flush out the stalker, but Rose is critically injured in the process and Gina must take Rose’s place as an undercover agent. She travels to Cancun with a mysterious Mexican agent, Cruz, whom she’s not sure she can trust. The two must find out if a wealthy collector has anything to do with Rose’s stalker and the theft of Mayan antiquities.

There is a lot to like about this book, particularly Gina’s background–her mom is a Russian immigrant who might be a witch. Her Japanese dad is a retired cop. They both give Gina religious talismans to protect her and Gina has her own sense of superstition. What a refreshing backstory! A multiracial, short, tough woman who cares deeply about her friends and family. The male lead, Cruz, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Stunningly attractive, mysterious, possibly a double agent?, an archaeologist,  published author, AND undercover agent… he is everything at once and way too good to be true. I have a pretty strong ability to suspend disbelief, but that was too much for me. Gina’s phenomenal acting abilities while she’s undercover aren’t quite out of the realm of belief, but her interactions with the lecherous collector are generally unsettling and a near-sexual assault that doesn’t serve (at all) to move the plot forward put me off. In the end, the plot felt needlessly complicated when the villain was ultimately revealed.

I was drawn to this book by the promise of a Mayan storyline and got a pretty superficial glance of Mayan culture, myth, and modern archaeology. Though this was not the book for me, I did enjoy parts of it and I feel like Gina could be developed into a really compelling character in future installments.

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