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Ruins by Lazette Gifford
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Recently added byjjmcgaffey, zette, hoshikaze, Pandababy



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Again, reviewing long after I read it (I thought I'd entered it into LT and reviewed it, but apparently not). Good story. There are a _lot_ of coincidences - especially Lee's ability to find archaeological artifacts - but they don't detract noticeably from the story. Lee, Chev, and Pat are all vividly drawn - so are the secondary characters, from Morton to Professor Belinato to Perez. The setting is wonderful - the museum, the desert, the ruins, the cave are all beautifully evoked. I don't know enough about the subject to know how unlikely the central mystery is, though I'm pretty sure there have not in fact been any finds like Chev's, let alone Lee's. I suspect someone who knew more about Southwestern archaeology would be very uncomfortable reading this, where it contradicts 'known' facts and assumptions. But I know enough to be interested and not enough to have any beliefs of my own on the subject, so I'm the perfect reader. The thriller parts - the enemies and their plots, various kidnappings and attacks - are quite plausible and again, beautifully drawn. A very enjoyable story. And - after a reread - yeah. There's a lot of little stuff I'd forgotten about, that make the story very rich. It's something Zette and a few other authors can do - make a place and people come alive. Lee's Taos is a place to me - if I went to actual Taos I'd be looking for the museum and all the rest. Very rich, very textured, very real. Write more, Zette! Set here or anywhere. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | May 21, 2010 |
Here is what "Ruins" has to say about itself (from the e-cover):
"Archeology and business don't mix....
Leander Consantinos had his life ripped apart when he went to prison for a series of murders he didn't commit. Now, free again -- but with his wife remarried and his son renamed -- he has no choice but to rebuild his life on the ruins of the other. After taking a job at a museum in New Mexico, Lee is caught up in a new drama as a local landowner fights to hold on to his land and protect the archeology sites it harbors, while an unscrupulous land developer does everything in his power to get what he wants."

What could a Greek ex-convict and millionaire Indian have in common? More than you might think, if they're the people in Zette's latest novel. The story is mainstream and a mystery. I was caught up in page one, and enjoyed the ride immensely. Once I'm hooked on the plot, it's the details that make or break a story, and I love the way the author works in the details without interrupting the flow of the story.

There is plenty of suspense and excitement in "Ruins", and the main characters get into (and out of) trouble with some surprising twists and turns. The thing I like about "Ruins" is that there is more to it. Just as in cooking, it is sometimes the sauce that makes the meal memorable, in "Ruins" it is the setting that makes it linger in memory.

My favorite character in "Ruins" is the Grandfather, although he isn't a major character. I think it would be nice to have such a grandfather. He's a Shaman living on a reservation, and he cares about his grandson (one of the Main Characters). Grandfather knows just when and how to offer a bit of encouragement or a little knowledge. He's also somewhat mysterious.

To me, Grandfather is a symbol of the flavor of "Ruins": down to earth on the surface, with more than meets the eye as you get to know him. Cooking "from scratch" uses fresh ingedients, and that's what Zette uses in her latest novel. The setting is described in a way that made me feel as if I were actually in New Mexico, in the desert or wandering through a museum of pre-Columbian artifacts.

This book has one of the most satisfying endings that I've seen. It made me want to turn around and read the book from the beginning just so I could get to the ending again. I can't spoil the plot, but will only say that I wish more authors would give this kind of thought to their endings. ( )
  Pandababy | Jan 7, 2008 |
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