Chris Kuzneski~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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The Death Relic
Chris Kuzneski
G.P. Putnam's Sons
     Prolific writers with characters who enthrall have created a following of readers who look forward to the next adventure with mouths watering.  Chris Kuzneski is such an author, and The Death Relic, which will be hitting the bookstores on January 10th, is such a novel.
     The Death Relic takes place in Mexico and traverses the Yucatan, Mexico City, and Acapulco. Main characters are Payne and Jones, both former members of an elite military squad known as the MANIACS. These two adventurers' exploits would make a super hero cringe as they manage to take charge of dangerous situations, making them turn out in their favor.
     Kuzneski has the unique ability to revive characters from previous novels and tie them together in a new scenario. Maria Pelati, who was in previous encounters with Payne and Jones, calls upon them to help her in Cancun after her prospective new employer, Terrence Hamilton, disappears right after they had just met! He had gone out to his car to get some papers to show her and never returned.  Maria returned to her hotel suite and found it very askew. Even her passport was missing. Fear for her safety causes her to call Payne and Jones for help who respond and join her by flying to Cancun from Pennsylvania.
     Other characters emerge throughout this tense story who play important roles in the drama--some are old friends, and others foes. There is much excitement as some seemingly disconnected events take place, but through the skillfulness of Kuzneski's writing, they unfold to connect the dots as this page‑turner moves forward.
     Historical references abound, and some of the explanations about the disappearance of the Mayan civilization delve into the body of this novel. Travel among the ruins is with accuracy. Insight as to Mayan temples and their use for sacrifices is with candor.  Societies which existed in the 1500s, both Mayan and Aztec, and their relationships are explored. European explorers, church historical figures, and modern day events blend to an electrifying conclusion. 
     In The Death Relic, each of the players has a part, even if that part is for good or evil. There is no confusion as to who the good guys are…Payne and Jones, of course.
     This is a five‑star adult read and highly recommended!
Clark Isaacs

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