Boston attorney, Charles Stone, handles special assignments for Franklin Life.
In this instance a $500,000 life insurance policy was taken on the life of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Spears. The beneficiary is Senorita Consuelo deV.
Now the agent is found murdered and Stone is asked to find out more about this Mexican woman.
The novel is advertised as a travel mystery so, as Stone drives from Massachusetts to Mexico, we get glimpses of various places such as Carlsbad Caverns, San Antonio and others. Initially, I found this distracting and wished that the author would just get on with the story.
Coincidences abound. As soon as Stone crosses the Mexican border and goes into a bar, Consuelo, "Connie" is sitting there. She approaches him and sets up a meeting with her boss, Eduardo Silva. At that meeting, Silva informs Stone that he attended mining school at the University of Nevada. It just so happens that Stone has an old friend that is in charge of the mining school there. Silva tells him that Stone's friend was a major influence on his life.
The dialogue is stilted, at the border patrol, Agent Collins states she has "Everything you want to know about the brutal attack...on Spears." Later, Connie is chasing Stone and Collins. She has them pinned down behind a rock formation. Connie comes after them with a gun and yells, "You have dishonored my life and family, Mr. Stone and as for that red haired agent, she deserves the same kind of death as Jack Spears...I plan to carry out a more complete ritual of revenge with her." I don't think that someone would have a discourse when they are trying to shoot someone and call her intended victim "Mr." Also, every time anyone speaks of Spears death, it is referred to as "...the brutal attack."
There is word that Spears may have been a rogue. When Connie is with Stone, she admits that Spears was saved from being killed by a Tribal Elder in Afghanistan. When he was fighting Al Queda and now, Spears is trying to get arms to the Tribal Elder so that he and his village can defend themselves against Al Queda.
I enjoyed the story but felt that it wasn't realistic that the two women in the story immediately fall for Stone and want to go to bed with him. In addition, while Stone and Agent Collins are driving back to Boston, they are too naive to take precautions against reprisals from shooting Connie.
The author can tell a story and the plot is compelling enough to keep the reader interested but I didn't find Stone sympathetic or likable. The author is working on a new novel with this character and I think that with some editing and realistic dialogue, the next novel will be an improvement.
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