It was the cover that drew me to this mystery. I was about to put it down and then I read the flaps. I was sold and I soon found myself deeply immersed in the novel. If I had to put it down, say, to work or sleep, I couldn't wait to pick it back up it, it was that good.
Apparently, Little Tiny Teeth is the fourteenth Gideon Oliver novel from Aaron Elkins but it was the first I have read. Gideon Oliver, the "Skeleton Doctor," has an affinity for studying old bones. He is asked by one of his friends, Phil, a tour guide for On the Cheap, an economy travel company, to take a week long cruise on the Amazon River. To the mix, Gideon is able to bring another friend, John, a Special Agent with the FBI. But they won't be the only ones on the cruise - a leading ethnobiologist from the University of Iowa is chartering the cruise for a week long study group. He brings some very prominent scientists with him to study the local flora and fauna, meet with some shamans to discuss the medicinal properties of local plants, and gather some Amazonian insects. Not long in to the cruise, the scientific leader, Arden Scofield, is nearly killed by a spear with a shrunken head attached to it. Then there is a giant spider. And fire ants. And some Columbian drug dealers. Gideon and his friends find themselves, thousands of miles from home, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with more than they anticipated. Not only does the heat and humidity make then uncomfortable, but their surroundings aren't helping.
Elkins has spun an amazing mystery. He takes his time setting up the story, slowly introducing the reader to all of the characters and the Amazon itself. But when they all come on board the cruise ship, the story really takes off. I found myself staying up later than usual to "finish a chapter," but actually reading several more. Elkins has more than one possible culprit in the story, and it was a joy to figure out who was behind all of the strange coincidences as Gideon, Phil, and John were working out the particulars. This was a very satisfying novel and I am glad that I am late to the Gideon Oliver series, as the previous 13 books present me with another excellent character and author.
Now, if only I could carve out more time to read. :-)