Today I bring you the review of a book that launches today. And if like me, you are looking for a bit of distraction from everyday life, this might be just the ticket.
The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series Book 2) by Carolyn Arnold
Mystery lovers will need to hold on to their hats for this follow-up to City of Gold, which reviewers described as “a fast-paced action adventure” that is “akin to an Indiana Jones story set in modern times.” Now, the second in the series promises to bring much of the same excitement! Join archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor and his friends as they go after the Emerald Tablets to save the world in The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh.
In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.
So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.
The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.
If you want to know more about the series, here is what to expect from the Matthew Connor Adventure series:
Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. Does treasure hunting excite you? What about the thought of traveling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, National Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives in London Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.
There’s more! Today, she answers a few questions for us and gives us insight into her life and journey as a mystery author.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t remember back as far as a young child, but as a young adult, I either wanted to be a defense attorney, a police officer, or a journalist. As a crime author, I’ve really become a blend of all three. LOL
If you had one wish, what would that be?
That people would use their energy for building other people up and that the world could unite, accepting each other’sdifferences, even when there’s not the threat of an alien invasion or global destruction. 😉
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
I write organically or go with the flow. Writing in this manner is also known as panster-style. If I set out to write an outline—even a brief one—my creativity stops.
When I start writing a book, I normally only have the concept of the plot. Most times I don’t even know who the killer is and I never know in advance how I’m getting my investigators to their door.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
It will take a lot of hard work, likely more than you can imagine until you’re immersed in the process, but there is no need to get overwhelmed. Take one day at a time and keep your focus on how much you enjoy writing and how you are writing for the readers who will love to read you.
And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.
And before I tell you what I think, I thought I’d offer you a sample…
Excerpt from the Chapter 3 of The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series)
Robyn went to get up when her door opened and Matthew Connor strolled in. His eyes were bluer than she remembered. She swept some of her dark hair behind an ear. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other,” he responded casually.
“You’re the one who took off to Alaska, and before that to—” She stopped talking before it came across like she was keeping track of his schedule. “It’s good to see you.”
And it was. It always was. They’d been friends since college and lovers there for a while, too. But just when things started to get serious between them, she’d been offered this job. And with her life plan coming together and Matthew’s selfless understanding, they’d ended things so she could focus on her career. She’d even gone so far as to avoid expeditions with him for a time, claiming they were too dangerous.
“You too.” He flashed her a smile that could stop her heart if she allowed it to.
“If you had been around yesterday, you could have joined us at Gretzky’s.” By us, she meant, Cal, Sophie, and herself, but Matthew would know that.
He was still smiling as he sat down in the chair across from her. “I figured you’d end up on a patio for drinks.”
She regarded the light in his eyes but also picked up on shadows of secrecy. He got that look when he was thinking about an expedition. But she didn’t have time to go away to wherever it was he had in mind. Maybe he had the luxury of dropping everything on a whim, but she didn’t. She was tethered to a job she loved, and Lord knew she had enough that needed taking care of. The e-mail about the African exhibit was far from being the only thing on her to-do list.
“If you’re here about an expedition, I can’t go,” she stated, certain she was getting in front of what he’d come here to ask.
“You don’t even know when I’m going.” Matthew leaned forward, one corner of his mouth lifting as if it had been raised by a hook. It was a carefree and devilish expression, and one that she found titillating, whether she wanted it to or not. And she didn’t want it to. They were better off as friends. It was so much less complicated. He did his thing; she did hers. And when they did go on quests together, it was an experience they shared as friends.
“It doesn’t matter.” She was shaking her head. “I have too much to do here.”
Matthew’s gaze went to her tidy desk before meeting her eyes. “It doesn’t look like it.”
“You know that my desk isn’t an indication of my workload. Do you want to see my in-box?” She gestured toward her monitor and then set her hand down on her desk.
Matthew reached forward and put his hand on top of hers. Her heart began to beat faster. She pulled her hand away and swallowed, hoping he hadn’t sensed how uncomfortable his touch made her.
His gaze dropped to her desk but then tracked up to meet her eyes. “You seem a little jumpy. I think someone needs a vacation.”
“Ha!” She mocked laughter. “You have no idea.” Truth be told, she hadn’t taken time off since the better part of a year ago, when they had gone in search of the City of Gold.
Matthew splayed out his hands. “No time like the present, then.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “An expedition”—she pointed a swirling finger at him—“isn’t a vacation. It’s work.”
Matthew sat back in his chair and bobbed his head side to side. “Fun work. And in this case, it could affect the fate of the world.”
“Excuse me while I roll my eyes. The fate of the world? Really?” She expected him to smile or laugh, but his eyes darkened and his mouth fell into a straight line. “You’re serious?”
“I am dead serious.”
“So what is this mission that could affect the fate of the world?” She’d started off armed with cynicism but found that her shield was starting to lower. What was wrong with her? Was he really baiting her with the fate of the world? Was she that desperate for time off that she was buying into his hyperbole?
“Before I continue,” he said, “I just want to make sure you realize that what I’m about to tell you is highly confidential.”
Thanks to the author’s publicist for offering me this opportunity to participate in the blog tour for the launch of this novel and for providing me an ARC copy that I freely chose to review.
I have read one of Carolyn Arnold’s Police Procedural books (Remnants, Brandon Fisher FBI Book 6. You can read my review here) and when I was approached about this book, that is quite different in genre, I was very curious. I know I’m not the only reader fascinated by Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, and the secrets hidden by the pyramids and the hieroglyphs. I still have a copy of Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology by C. W. Ceram (well, Dioses, Tumbas y Sabios, as I read the Spanish Translation), which I was given as a child, and I remember how much time I spent reading it and imagining that I was there, in Tutankhamen’s Tomb. Of course, the book is quite old now, and I was delighted to be given the opportunity of following an expedition in modern times, and seeing how much things have changed. But some things haven’t, and the magic and the excitement are still there.
This is book 2 in the Matthew Connor Adventure series, and although I can confirm it can be read independently, there are quite a few references to the previous book, City of Gold, so if you’re intending to read the whole series, I’d advise you to start by the first book, as you might otherwise miss some of the surprises. There is enough information about book 1 to get a good sense of the closeness between the friends, the dangers they encountered in their previous adventure, and also to understand what makes them tick. But when it came to the intricacies of their personal lives, I was curious about how much background I had missed, because, in such matters, nuances are important.
The story is told in the third person from a variety of characters’ points of view. It is Matthew Connor Series, and he is one of the main characters, but the story starts with Alex, an Egyptologist who knew Matthew from before and who calls him when she realises what she has come across. Both of Matthew’s friends, Cal and Robin appear reluctant to join him at first, for different reasons, but they cannot resist the adventure, and they make a great team. Robin is the studious and organised one, and she’s always dreamed of Egypt. Cal is a photographer who loves adventure and is always trying to bring a light touch and a joke to the proceedings, and the fact that he is not knowledgeable about the topic offers the author the perfect excuse to explain the background, both historical and procedural, to their expedition. Matthew is an interesting mixture of intuition, deduction, and determination. He has great instincts even if sometimes he might get side-tracked by his emotions and his flirting with danger. I know some readers are reluctant to read books where the point of view changes often, but it is well-done here, and it helps keep the mystery and the intrigue, as each character’s personality and insights provide us different clues to what is really going on. It is up to us to put the pieces of the puzzle together and it is great fun.
The book is fast-paced, and it will delight lovers of adventures. If you love Indiana Jones, you will be fascinated by the Emerald Tablets, the lost pharaoh, the snake whisperer, the treasure map, the betrayals, and the many secrets. In an ideal world, I would have loved to know more about the pharaoh and his secrets (he sounds like a fascinating character), and I was much more interested and convinced by the adventure aspect of the story than by the personal relationships and the love stories of the characters. Matthew came across as quite fickle at times, but he is very young (that is more evident emotionally than professionally), and I think his reactions and behaviour are understandable. The three friends go through emotional turmoil, and in all cases, it is related to their profession and their love of adventure, which brings an interesting and realistic aspect to the matter. We are used to adventurers who are either loners, or somehow come across a kindred spirit who loves adventures as much as they do, but rarely do we find a group of friends who know the value of their friendship and appreciate the difficulties of fitting their love for adventure into a ‘normal’ life. None of the main characters are flawless heroes (some hate snakes, there are jealousies, unfunny jokes, superstition, lack of commitment, and lies) and, for me, that is a strength, because it makes them human and easier to identify with.
The author once more shows her skill at research, and the technology used as part of the expedition, the procedures followed, and the setting blend smoothly into the story without delaying the action or going into unnecessarily detailed descriptions. There are clues, red herrings, plenty of suspects, and twists and turns to keep the mystery readers engaged too.
A thrilling and fun adventure that I recommend to anybody who loves the Indiana Jones movies and has always been intrigued by archaeological mysteries. The plot is particularly strong, but the characters are relatable and likeable, and I would love to join them on their next adventure. I am sure you will too.
Thanks once again to the author and her team, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review and keep SMILING!