Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Xibalba Murders: Review

Initially I picked up The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton for two reasons: 1) It's got a lovely "X" right there at the beginning and that knocks off a rather difficult letter for the Alphabet Soup Challenge and 2) It's set in Mexico, so it works for the Around the World Challenge.  It also counts for a whole boatload of other challenges, so I thought it was all good.  But geez, Louise, it was difficult to finish this rather blah, rather predictable book.  First problem: It's written in the first person.  Man, I hate those.  It's rare that a first-person narrator works well for me.  This one doesn't.  Second problem: Too much introspection on the part of the narrator (bad divorce, no love-life, blah-blah-blah).  Third problem: this supposedly "smart enough to run her own business (pre-divorce) and smart enough to go back to school as a graduate student" woman immediately starts blabbing about why Dr. Hernan Castillo asked her to come to Mexico to the first impressive male stranger she comes across.  Bet that's going to work out well for her.  But remember--she's told us that she dresses in "student uniform" of denim, khakis, and black to keep the men away ('cause the bad divorce was a thing, you know).  Right.  She's not interested or impressed by men at all.  Uh-huh. 

But you want to know what this is about, right?  Whether the mystery is interesting.  Well, you'd think so from the blurb:

After receiving a cryptic phone call from Dr. Hernan Castillo, an expert in Mayan history, Lara McClintoch travel to Merida, Mexico, to help him with a mysterious project that he has undertaken. But on arriving in Merida, Lara sees no sign of the good doctor--until his lifeless body turns up in his office at the museum.  Retracing the doctor's recent footsteps, she is drawn into the jungles surrounding Merida.  For in this lush paradise are the temples of Mayan gods--and the camps of modern-day rebels fighting to save their Mayan heritage. As the body count escalates, Lara must uncover the secrets of the Mayan underworld known as Xibalba--and journey into the very heart of darkness....

I know I thought so.  But even though I know in these cozy mysteries we have to agree to believe the amateur detective is going to outsmart the police, I just couldn't do it this time.  Because quite honestly, I don't believe Lara is smart enough.  She does some really stupid things and trusts people that she has no reason to trust.  And Hamilton gives no explanation in the storyline to make me believe that she should have a reason.  One star. 

Challenges Met: A-Z Reading Challenge, Around the World, Library Books Challenge, Outdo Yourself, Out of This World, Women Challenge, Cruisin' Thru the Cozies, Century of Books, How Many Books, 100 Plus Challenge, Book Bingo, A-Z Mystery Author Challenge,


Anonymous said...

I'm not fond of first person POV either. I though I was the only one...!

fredamans said...

Sorry this book was a little disappointing. Great review still.