Treasure Hunting
by JB McDonald, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-919-0


Sociology professor Meg loves visiting the jungles of South America for her personal Indiana Jones adventures - looking for ruins and all - when in this one particular trip she encounters a wounded jaguar. After getting her hired helps to bring the jaguar back to their camp, she goes to sleep only to wake up to the sight of her hired helps fleeing the scene. The reason for this pretty obvious once she looks at the cage that held the jaguar. Instead of a jaguar, there's a gorgeous guy named Santiago. Of course, he's the jaguar - he's actually a shapeshifter. As Meg decides to help Santiago get back to his people even if she has to do it alone, you can guess what happens between those two.

Treasure Hunting is designed to be a romantic adventure comedy, but I do wonder what Meg is doing in the jungles when she's going to scream at the sight of bugs or get into all kinds of trouble in the jungle. She doesn't come off as a particularly bright woman, more like Calamity Jane trying to make her way through a field of land mines at times.

I'm also not sure why Ms McDonald will choose to have Meg and Santiago sleep together without the use of protection only to have Meg screech the following to herself.

She'd just had sex with a man in a tree. And while that was alarming enough, she'd done it without a condom, and without even asking about disease. Now she was going to go home and have an HIV baby. And her parents would never let her hear the end of it. Not, at least, until she died a slow horrible death of tuberculosis and AIDs. Of all the stupid...

I don't understand why the need for the above unless Ms McDonald wants to drive home the point that Meg is a complete moron and therefore I should be actively rooting for Meg's death. I know Meg is a moron, I don't need a punchline that has the phrase "HIV baby" to tell me that. Won't it be better if the author instead overlook the fact that the characters didn't use protection?

Santiago comes off like a man-child creature that I have a hard time seeing him as a long-term boyfriend material. But at least he's in his element in the jungles, unlike Meg who comes off like the first person bound to be voted off on Survivor.

Treasure Hunting could have worked better for me, I suppose, if I can get used to the author's brand of humor that involves making a fool out of the heroine to keep the excitement going in the story.

Rating: 69


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