Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll
Published by Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press June 01, 2017
Genre: Christian, Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Two recovery specialists.
A hunt for the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine becomes a race of survival.
Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident—to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.
After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job—maybe even the best.
A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.
Can Landry and Nickolai work together despite their distrust of each other to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost? Will they find the real treasure isn’t the gold, but something more valuable. . .true love and understanding?
Robin Caroll’s newest venture into the world of recovery specialists (ie treasure hunters) promised excitement, adventure and romance but fell quite a bit short of its goal.
Having read some of Ms. Caroll’s collaborative work with Colleen Coble, I approached her latest story with some happy anticipation, hoping for a good plot with well developed characters. I was somewhat disappointed with the story as it went along given the anticipation that Ms. Caroll built at the beginning of the story was not well carried with the fleshing out of the plot. She begins her story with two characters, Landry Parker and Nickolai Baptiste, who are recovery specialists called to bid on the same venture – to find a map that possibly leads to gold mine in Arizona. With the circumstances surrounding the map’s disappearance both Landry and Nickolai are reluctant to sign on but neither can afford to pass up the finders fee that’s offered. As they take their respective paths to seeking out the details of how and why the map went missing they both find that all answers are leading to Apache Juction, Arizona and its surrounding towns. Both Landry and Nickolai have personal financial reasons for taking this case and as they find themselves working together they have to remember that there can only be one collection fee given for the map’s finding. The question Ms. Caroll then presents is whether working together will keep them safe or make them more of a target for whomever stole the map? And further will this case bring them together forever or keep them divided as they seek the map and the treasure it indicates exists. With the plot presented there is much room for an author to really make the characters involved come alive and create a real feeling of danger and excitement. However, I found the “excitement” and “danger” to be rather lukewarm and not anxiety-inducing in the least. If you are going to write about brakes failing or a napalm fire breaking out in a hotel room and you want your readers to really be afraid for your characters you have to be very descriptive with the details of those happenings and the reactions of your characters. I never really felt fear or anxiety for Landry or Nickolai, rather I felt like the “danger” was an afterthought added to make the story seem more interesting. And the random angry lady involved in the wreck caused by Nickolai’s failed brakes was really annoying and not helpful to the scene at all. Another inclusion that bothered me was the random inserts of Apache ceremonies and rituals that were not well connected to or explained within the story. Usually those scenes are inserted to explain the actions of participating characters but I was halfway through the book before I finally understood the reason Ms. Caroll included them. Furthermore, the character that was to carry out the decisions of the Apache council was not revealed until the last two chapters; making him unhelpful to the carriage of the plot. And the whole ending where Nickolai was given the choice of “saving Landry’s life if he gave up his memories of the location of the gold mine” was so very weird and not possible I laughed and shook my head when I read it. This is supposed to be a Christian book so why do the Apache have any power over who lives and who dies based on one person’s choice? That power rests in the hands of Almighty God who does not give the power of life and death to any man! Not good, Ms. Caroll! Finally, Ms. Caroll’s “bad guy” was so evident from the first third of the book that I was bored with his revelation at the end. I find that the best “bad guys” are those who are concealed or are working unsuspected alongside the “heroes” until the end and their revelation comes as a shock to all those involved. Not that all criminals are masterminds but I do expect fictional ones to be capable of more stealth than your average sneak thief or drug dealer. I did find some redeeming qualities in this book so all is not completely lost. I was very happy with the way in which Ms. Caroll dealt openly with the mental illness Nickolai’s sister suffers from. She showed that Schizophrenia is a real disorder and that those who suffer from it often harm those who are closest to them in very brutal ways. And when Ms. Caroll showed that faith in Christ is the best way for any Schizophrenic to find the strength to overcome their tendencies, that impressed me and made me see that her intentions were headed in the right direction. I was also glad to see that Ms. Caroll had Nickolai see that the blame for his parents deaths was not his to carry. His family had no history of mental illness and his sister’s actions were not unlike those of her friends, therefore her condition was not to be anticipated or realized until it turned violent in a tragic way. Additionally, the romance between Landry and Nickolai was fairly well written, with a sweetness and carefulness that I have come to expect from Christian Romance. I was a little against it at first, given that Nickolai was an unbeliever but was happy to see them together at the end of the story. So although there were some things that were good about this story, I’m not sure I will be recommending this book to anyone as it was rather disappointing. I hope that Ms. Caroll will spend more time honing her craft before she writes another like this. For avid readers of adventure/dramatic stories she will have to make her writing much sharper and more descriptive if she wishes to have devoted fans.
I received this E-book free of charge from Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.