A group of thirteen archeology students are found dead of an apparent mass suicide just outside Re's Cavern, deep in the Grand Canyon, seeming to be victims of the delusions of charismatic Dr. Jensen Reinhardt in a "Jim Jones" cult scenario. But there's one survivor who knows the truth. Meagan Eastwood had been out taking pictures that fateful morning, and is now on the run for her life.
Bruce Brackin, a journalist recently bereaved of his beloved wife Rachel, take a literary "vacation" to the Grand Canyon to casually cover the story for American Times Magazine as a freelance assignment. When Bruce is surprised by a gun-toting Meagan in the back of his rent-a-car, he doesn't know what to think. But after exploring the mysteries behind the disappearance of Reinhardt and the deaths of the excavation party, Bruce agrees to investigate with Meagan.
The plot thickens when Bruce finds himself running for his life, trying to protect not only Meagan Eastwood but his crippled, conspiracy-theory brother as well. Tensions mount as, against all odds, the couple soon find themselves smack in the middle of a full blown conspiracy, one that wants Meagan Eastwood at all costs. How much will Bruce sacrifice to keep her safe?
While the novel is action packed and filled with unique mysteries and ideas, I did have some problems with it. The characters never fully flesh out, there was something lacking that left them only two dimensional. They seems wooden and its difficult to relate to them and their plights. Perhaps more background closer to the beginning would have helped. The naming of characters and companies bothered me too. Such casually, randomly typed names like Brackin, Gabaree, and Butterworth struck me as too simplistic and random, and the company names matching real-life companies except for one consonant also struck me as un-imaginative. So naming was also a problem. Lastly, the writing was sometimes amateurish – switching POV's too rapidly and randomly, and producing choppy text. The writing is sometimes flat and dry, telling the story rather than showing it. The beginning has a slow hook, so make sure to keep reading and you'll find the intricacies of the plot unfold and excite you. It's clear this is a freshman effort by the author. I do see him improving over the course of his career, so don't give up.
I will be picking up the sequel, which is left wide open at the ending, just to find out more about the strange relationship between the Grand Canyon and Ancient Egypt, a plotline not to be missed. The imagination is definitely here, even if the writing itself needs a little maturing. A solid 3 1/2 stars! Enjoy!