Right off the bat I'll say this is one very good book. It reads like an Indiana Jones adventure but in the present day and with some good solid speculative science weaved into the plot. If you are familiar with novels by James Rollins or Mathew Reilly then you'll have a good idea of the style...sort of like reading a movie. In a nutshell, the novel is about a covert government agency that is launched on a quest to find an ancient Mayan temple in the heart of the Amazon. But what they find there is a huge mystery and more action/adventure than I've read in a long time.
The scenes and characters are presented clearly, so clearly that you can "see" the movie unfolding in your mind. And the plot is heavy on the action, especially the second half. The first half builds up the mystery of just what is going on here, establishes the main characters and allows us to see what is motivating the competing groups looking for the temple. Intrigue abounds and it really keeps you turning the pages. And the second half just explodes with action. Very well done.
I was so engrossed in this novel that I've added the name Graham Brown to my "Best Little-Known Authors" list. I daresay he won't be unknown for long as my copy of the book says he is working on a sequel to Black Rain. If his work is marketed well, he could be the next "big thing" in this genre. The only problem might be the title...a search of that name brings up a lot about the Michael Douglas movie of the same name as well as the album by Ozzie Osborne. Oh well.
I also completed the next short story in Louis L'Amour's The Strong Shall Live. I thought "Duffy's Man" was fun to read but also was an example of boilerplate western fiction. I thought at first this might be a very different sort of western story because Duffy is an old, fat man...wouldn't that be a great protagonist to break the cliched mold? But no, the story is about the nameless guy who works for him and is the templated wide shouldered, narrow hipped, steely-eyed hero who stands up to the bully and whips him in the end. Not much more to it than that. Hehe, still fun to read though :)
Next up: another advanced reader's edition from Amazon that I need to get to: Veracity by Laura Bynum.