★★★★★ Few places are so mythical—so enticing to the human mind—that they’ve endured for centuries in our collective exploratory conscience, luring many men and women to their deaths. But none holds the imaginative draw of that rumored golden paradise in Central America: El Dorado. In James B. McPike’s fantastic novel Treasure Fever: The Hunt for El Dorado, the search for the mystic city comes to a heart-pounding, page-racing climax.
NSA agent Max Finley is sent to apprehend the shadowy thief Lexa Tantaros after she steals a priceless artifact, but he is seduced by her dreams of finding El Dorado and forsakes his mission to help complete hers. Their shared past and sparkling chemistry help ground the fast-moving plot, and though they are clearly modeled from familiar molds, McPike never leans into stock caricature. This well-rounded approach applies to the villains too—rival NSA agent Dean Spader is easy to hate, but McPike gives him multiple point-of-view chapters so he isn’t a prop but a proper character. Snappy plotting and dialogue keep the pages turning, and McPike’s confident writing shines in both cinematic chase scenes as well as in quieter, character-driven moments. McPike clearly put in a good deal of time researching the local cultures, and it’s a joy to read the smaller details—especially of the regional foods.
A brilliant blend of Dan Brown and National Treasure, McPike’s latest is the escape you need in today’s world. Put down your tired thriller and adventure fiction, because much like El Dorado, a real goldmine of a book is waiting for you in Treasure Fever.