Book Chat: Quintana Roo
by Gary Brandner
A mystery horror novel set in the jungle, with dark Mayan rites raising the terror level. Written by the author of The Howling.
MYRA’S HORROR BLOG REVIEWS : I wanted to write reviews as if I were sharing the love of a book with a friend. What I liked about it, from storyline to characters; to include any parts that had a negative impact on me as a reader. Join me on the couch as we explore today’s exciting read.
Oldie but Goodie
It is a living hell: murderous Mayans . . . reptiles that kill on contact . . . creatures more deadly than crocodiles. No man has ever come back alive from Quintana Roo.
John Hooker is hired by beautiful, sexy Connie Braithwaite to discover the whereabouts of her billionaire husband, Nolan, who vanished a year before on an expedition into the Yucatan.
Quintana Roo’s jungles barely conceal a violent mix of horrors old and new – “Muerateros,” whose skill at torture has been honed over centuries, and their modern counterparts, who will stop at nothing to preserve their right to kill.
Brandner does an excellent job of introducing readers to a myriad of interesting characters. Hooker, the hero, is a multifaceted man; content with his quiet life in Mexico, but the jobs he takes on for rich tourists can be risky. Alita is his Mexican lover, a lovely, sweet woman, who we later discover is also resourceful and tough. Connie Braithwaite is a rich socialite, with layers that develop as the story unfolds and life becomes terrifying. Buzz is a long-time friend, missing since the previous year.
Connie convinces Hooker to take on a danger filled search for her husband, Nolan, who was lost with Buzz in a suspected plane crash over the jungle. Hooker doesn’t think anything can convince him to trek into Quintana Roo, with rumors rife of cannibals and deadly animals, as well as natives. Mrs. Braithwaite tempted him with a huge bounty, but it was the thoughts of his friend Buzz that won him over. Could he still be alive?
An acquaintance flies the small team into a tiny airport near the jungle. Alita follows Hooker and only with her invaluable knowledge of the local Indian dialect were they able to find men to help. He trusts neither man but had no choice since no one else would venture into that part of the jungle. Hooker reluctantly agrees to let his girlfriend accompany them, since her language skills will probably come in handy.
Miraculously, they stumble upon part of the plane wreckage, and then Buzz. He is not in great shape, having lost a foot in the crash. But a local tribe nursed his wounds and fixed him up with a primitive wooden foot. Buzz doesn’t know if Nolan is still alive, but says that he was taken into the Indian city.
Things escalate after that; with mysterious, dark rites uncovered about the Mayans, turning people into Muerateros; a kind of zombie. The group escapes being turned into the undead and make it to the coast, where they find Germans (WW II era setting) are setting up a base. Also, that the Indians are working in cooperation with them. About to be shot by the Nazi leader, whose identity is shocking to Hooker, rescue comes from an unexpected source. No clues, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I almost clapped because it was a cool ending.
The author pulls you into the story with well-developed characters and interesting, exotic locations. My only negative is that the meat of the story started half way through the novel and I like to sink my teeth into the action early. Recommended for those who love mystery along with their horror, and Gary Brandner fans.
NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the January issue.