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Dark Gold by David Angsten
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I just could not get into this story. Really unlikeable characters. ( )
  pollywannabook | Jan 11, 2008 |
You know, superficially the plot of Dark God rather had the same feel and flavor of a book I read last year...The Ruins...the main difference being that Dark Gold takes place mainly on a boat/in the ocean and not on land. It's got buddies out just out of college (Jack, Duff, and Rock), initially looking for a good time, but when Jack Duran's wayward brother appears to be missing while traveling through South America, these buddies pleasure trip turns into a search and rescue mission. Along the way, they hook up with Bellocheque, a Bahamian business man (and owner of the Obi-Man, a wonderfully luxurious yacht) and his two hottie sidekicks, Eva and Candy. What initially starts out as an adventure to find the missing brother (decided on the toss of a coin) turns into a hunt for missing gold, complete with sea monster and Lovecraftian creepy, xenophobic, isolated village. Dark Gold offers up a lot of plot twists, backstabbing, treachery, deception, and even some traditional Mexican bad guys out to steal the treasure...lets face it this is a summer beach read wanna-be that mixes equal parts historical mystery, horror novel and travelogue, then throws in a dash of romance and just a tiny smidge of thriller and mixes well with the murky water of the deep and ALMOST makes it to a memorable page turner.

Overall there was a LOT of build up for not a lot of pay off in this largely predictable novel. I give it three stars, it's entertaining, but not as "page-turning," on the edge of your seat thrilling as I think the author was striving for...it never got up to sizzle for me, it was just too slow moving with the attempts to build suspense and terror and it never quite got there. Additionally the characters were never really developed to their full potential, Rock and Duff were pretty much interchangeable, as were Candy and Eva, there wasn't a whole lot to distinguish and with the female characters, next to NO detail was given about them and other than being competent help (serving food, cleaning up, and doing Bellocheque's bidding) and eye candy, they weren't compelling or sympathetic. There wasn't a character I identified with or felt really deserved to make it through at the end of the book. Jack, Dan (the missing brother) and Bellocheque where the only characters given any decent amount of background...but the attempts to draw out suspense and mystery for Bellocheque ultimately made him a stereotype, cookie cutter character like the rest. In the end, it was an ok read, but I'm glad I got this from the library as I'd be upset if I'd paid hardback prices for a novel that was mildly entertaining at best, there was a lot of potential with all of the elements Angsten laid out, unfortunately when it was all said and done, none of it was terribly compelling or fleshed out enough to merit higher praise for this book. Great bones, mediocre story. ( )
  the_hag | Dec 27, 2007 |
I love a good thriller, especially if it has an exotic location, a sunken treasure, sexy characters, and all kinds of menace. Dark Gold delivers all the above and more.

The story opens with three college grads, Jack, Rock, and Duff, about to embark on a world tour, a last hurrah before they have to get serious about real life. However, Jack's wandering older brother Dan has gone missing somewhere in Mexico. The last anyone has heard from him was an enigmatic postcard from Puerto Vallarta four months ago. So the three friends decide to start their trip in Mexico to hunt down Dan. As readers of The Ruins will attest, these quests never end well.

Early on, Jack has a scary encounter with a drug-dealing biker gang. No one will admit to knowing anything about Dan, but Jack does learn the name of a town that doesn't mean anything to him---Punta Perdida. None of the locals are willing to ferry Jack, Duff, and Rock there to investigate, for any price. But fate (and a beautiful woman) leads them to Leo Bellocheque, a wealthy Caribbean Islander with a million dollar yacht and a drop-dead gorgeous crew of two. Leo's intrigued by their story and offers them a lift.

Punta Perdida is a dangerous place. The local priest has been deafened and muted. Things aren't looking at all good for Dan. But Jack and his friends soon discover what enticed Dan to this desolate location; the lure of a fortune in sunken gold. Of course, in a place like Punta Perdida, you never know what else might be in the water...

I don't want to tell any more, because the joy of a novel like this is the plotting. The story is fast-paced and offered me big, gasp-out-loud surprises right up to the very end. There are definitely elements of the story that are familiar from many other books and films, but Angsten has done a great job making familiar thriller conventions seem fresh and new.

A big part of it is the writing, which is way above average. It's a pleasure to read a thriller with a nice turn of phrase and characters with real depth to them. I often felt a desire to learn more about these people and their back stories that wasn't always satisfied. You can't complain too loudly, though, about characters being overly interesting.

In the heading of this review I used the words menacing and atmospheric, which sound a lot better than creepy. But the truth of the matter is that Angsten creeped me out. Never has Mexico seemed more foreign or scarier. Seriously, I began to feel a little worried about my own friends down there! And just reading an underwater scene about something that's never seen during an early dive in the novel had the hair on the back of my neck standing up.

I read this book in two days. This is good and bad. I want more! I can't wait to see what Angsten comes up with next. What a great new discovery! ( )
  suetu | Aug 22, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312937938, Paperback)

His summer after college graduation was never supposed to turn out this way. But when Jack Duran's older, vagabond brother Dan goes missing in Mexico, Jack heads to Puerta Vallarta to find him. With two friends in tow, Jack follows Dan's trail of shady dealings, which leads him to a Bahamian yachtsman and his bikini-clad crew. Sailing down the jungle-covered coast, they soon discover that Dan had been searching for a shipwreck. But some treasures are meant to stay buried…
 
When they finally locate the sunken ruins, they begin their furious search for the booty until, one by one, the divers begin to disappear. Could they be the victims of el Diablo Blanco, a deadly local legend come to life? Blinded by the prospect of untold riches, Jack travels toward the very brink of the abyss as he pursues his harrowing quest for…
 
DARK GOLD
 
 
 
 
 
 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

ADVENTURE / THRILLER. His summer after college graduation was never supposed to turn out this way. But when Jack Duran's older, vagabond brother Dan goes missing in Mexico, Jack heads to Puerta Vallarta to find him. With two friends in tow, Jack follows Dan's trail of shady dealings, which leads him to a Bahamian yachtsman and his bikini-clad crew. Sailing down the jungle-covered coast, they soon discover that Dan had been searching for a shipwreck. But some treasures are meant to stay buried. When they finally locate the sunken ruins, they begin their furious search for the booty until, one by one, the divers begin to disappear. Could they be the victims of el Diablo Blanco, a deadly local legend come to life? Blinded by the prospect of untold riches, Jack travels toward the very brink of the abyss as he pursues his harrowing quest for Dark Gold.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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