Review: Archaeologist Daria McGowen returns from a dig in Iran to oversee the display of artifacts unearthed by her great-grandfather a century ago in Last Breath, the third and final entry in this trilogy of thrillers by Mariah Stewart.
The fabled city of Shandihar in the Middle East had been buried beneath the desert sands after an earthquake a thousand years ago, its treasures presumably lost forever. In the early 20th century, Alister McGowen, with the backing of a wealthy patron, Benjamin Howe, discovered the city and its artifacts, the most important of which he carefully cataloged and crated to be shipped to the US. 100 years later, these artifacts are to be displayed in a new museum at the university founded by the patron, Howe University. Daria, McGowen's great-granddaughter, is asked to coordinate the effort. To her shock and dismay, she finds several important artifacts missing … possibly stolen. She immediately calls FBI Agent Conner Shields, a man she had met in Morocco on her way home. Working together, they discover a number of "collectors" who have acquired the pieces. Visiting each of their homes, Daria and Connor find the owners dead, tortured by methods described in the annals of the ancient city, and the artifacts gone. As they continue their investigation, they learn of a woman who calls herself the Goddess of Darkness, a high priestess of Shandihar, and her guardians who obey her every command, including one to kill Daria and Connor before they can expose her.
Last Breath is an excellent book in so many ways. The archaeological information is detailed enough to be interesting without being overwhelming, and significantly enhances the overall plot. The emotional highs and lows Daria experiences are realistically portrayed and add value to the story. And finally, and maybe most important of all, the mystery of who stole the artifacts and why make for a compelling and fast paced thriller.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Last Breath.
Acknowledgment: Book Trends provided a copy of Last Breath for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Ballantine (Hardcover), June 2006
ISBN-13: 9780345483836; ISBN-10: 0345483839
Ballantine (Hardcover), May 2008
ISBN-13: 9780345492265; ISBN-10: 0345492269
Location(s) referenced in Last Breath: Iran
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Last Breath by Mariah Stewart — A "Last" Series Thriller
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $19.95