Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun combination of treasure hunt with mystery and strong characters
Cons: All cons buried and forgotten
The Bottom Line:
Trail of bracelet
Lead Jaya into danger
In fast paced debut
Get Caught up in This Search for an Artifact
I am never lacking for books to read because when a book or series captures my attention, I am quick to grab it to my collection even if I don’t read it right away. For example, Artifact, the first Jaya Jones mystery by Gigi Pandian has been sitting on my TBR stack for almost two years now. I finally sat down and read it, and I wish I’d read it sooner.
Jaya Jones is a new professor specializing in the history of the East India Company working at a college in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s currently on summer break, and hoping to get the research for an article she needs to publish completed.
All that changes when she sees a news story telling her that her former boyfriend, Rupert, was killed in a car accident in Scotland. While she is sad, she is shocked to get a package from him that evening containing a potentially valuable bracelet. The note leads her to believe that the accident might have been murder. When her apartment is searched, Jaya knows she needs to get to the bottom of whatever is going on. But what had Rupert found?
Since this book has a treasure hunt theme, there is more going on here than just a traditional murder mystery. I loved that aspect of thing. In fact, it was a refreshing change for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love cozies (obviously), but I also enjoy it when there is that added touch. The treasure hunt added a bit of a caper element to this book that felt a bit like the fun of the National Treasure movies, which I certainly love.
And thanks to the treasure hunt there is always something going on. Whether it’s meeting suspects and looking for motives or trying to figure out what the story is behind the bracelet, Jaya is learning new information and piecing it together into a picture that makes sense. I saw one twist coming before it happened, but there were lots of them that surprised me.
I must admit I know little about the history of India and the British involvement in the country, but I learned something in this book. Yes, the book is absolutely fiction, and the story that Gigi Pandian spins here has completely made up people in it, but the author note at the end does point out the real history that she wove into the story.
The characters she created certainly felt real. Jaya is a fantastic lead character - strong, independent, and just plain fun. And yes, I love the fact that a couple of Indiana Jones jokes were made on her last name. There are only a couple of characters I expect to see again (and I’m not spoiling who they are), and I liked them as well. The rest of the cast are just as strong.