In author Julien Ayotte’s latest novel, The Treasure, newspaper columnist Sebastian Reynolds finds himself at the center of a real-life treasure hunt after he’s contacted by a retired Army officer, Jerry Woodrow, who unexpectedly received two boxes of items from an old friend. The boxes contain papers, maps, and very old coins, leading Woodrow and Reynolds on an exciting quest to find what could be a centuries-old treasure.
Ayotte is very adept at writing thrillers, and he has done what is surely a tremendous amount of research into settings (Turks and Caicos, the Pitcairn islands, Florida, Virginia, Nova Scotia) and history of pirated ships. He develops realistic characters and the plotline is believable, which brings the reader along on the journey to avenge a murder and (hopefully) find the treasure.
Along the way, our intrepid hero Reynolds falls in love, but this is not a romance – the romantic element is a nice subplot to round out the characters. There are a few moments when the pacing is slow – perhaps it was done on purpose by the author to give the reader time to catch up, but the story never fails to engage. And there is an almost-not-realistic age difference between two of the characters that needs to be there to fit the narrative – don’t dwell on it and keep reading, it’s worth it.
I do believe this novel would have benefited from a professional edit. Not a copyedit – the spelling is perfect throughout. The use of dialogue tags is a tricky issue for writers. For the most part, “said” and “asked” are sufficient. And there are a few instances where the dialogue is stilted. But these are very minor issues when the entirety of the book is considered. It’s a read that is well worth your time.
You can pick up a copy of The Treasure in print or digital form from Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/2p9yxauk).
Note: I’ve got a couple of projects coming up in March and April, so book reviews will be more sporadic (meaning when I get the time to read!).