Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Michelangelo's Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

Synopsis -

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

Review -

I like to call this an intelligent mystery.  Why?  The main character is a history professor who actively involved in research, trying to fill the voids in history and make connections to tie the past into a seamless story.  She is also multicultural - of East Indian decent but living in San Francisco.  As the plot unfolds we are given glimpses into the world of academic research as well as the food and music of India.

These side notes add that extra touch, a spicy flavour to the story (just like the food Jaya consumes). I was intrigued. Growing up, the author traveled extensively with her parents soaking up the culture, scenery and food as she went. After high school, she first pursued a life as an academic. She was in a PhD program when she decided it wasn't the life for her and walked away to attend art school and begin writing her first novel. All these experiences comes together in the Jaya Jones series.

In this third book, a disgraced former professor reaches out to Jaya for her help.  She has found the sketchbooks of an undiscovered artist who supposedly trained under Michelangelo and then moved to India where he created a fusion of styles. On returning home, his unique art work was considered an embarrassment to his family and hidden away.  The artist was relegated to a simple line in the history books. This discovery, if true, could be ground breaking.

Jaya is intrigued, but unsure. Then the professor dies in questionable circumstances. That is the spark that sends Jaya off to Italy - along with her brother and his girlfriend - to search for a hidden studio that is hinted at.  Will they find it and after all these years will there be any artwork that survived?

The plot offers murder, intrigue, suspense and questions galore. Add in romance, characters that come alive, great food and wonderful settings and you have a book sure to keep you reading until the wee hours. I am going back and reading the series from book one, something I suggest other readers consider doing. It is a stand alone book, but I love following the development of the main character from the start and there is the occasional reference to previous experiences.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author -

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at www.gigipandian.com/newsletter.

Interviews were not a part of this tour, but I found this great one from Hook of a Book from 2015. Intrigued to know more about the author?  Click HERE!

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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