The Xibalba Murders

by Lyn Hamilton

Reviewed by Coral

After she is forced to sell her business as part of her divorce settlement, Lara McClintoch heads back to school while waiting out the year-long exile from work also imposed by her divorce. When she receives a call from an old friend, Don Hernan Castillo, telling her about a great archeological find he's made and asking her to come to Mexico, she happily takes a break from her studies and hops on a plane.

While staying with other old friends, she waits to hear from Don Hernan, but his only call is to tell her he will be late in meeting up with her. As she waits for him, Lara suddenly gets caught up in, first, a robbery and then murder, when she finds a body at the museum where Don Hernan works. With the police suspecting Don Hernan of the crimes, Lara finds herself under police scrutiny as well. Where is Don Hernan? What has he gotten her mixed up in? Not trusting the police, Lara decides it is up to her to unravel this web she's found herself in.

I have actually read a couple of other books in this series - a long time ago - but I had never read the first book before. Honestly, if I had I am not sure that I would have read any of the others.

One of the problems I had from the two or three other books in the series that I read is the big scene at the end of the book where the culprit/killer goes into that cliché monologue of the crimes they've committed and why. Sad to see that it starts from book one.

There was something off about the whole book. The characters, especially Lara, never acted in a way that I found believable. Her actions were more plot-driven than anything I could see a person actually doing in her situation.

Other characters never really felt fleshed out, so that I didn't understand why Lara would trust some people over others.

The dialogue was stiff in some parts.

I love archaeology, ancient history and mythology. The Mayans are one of the civilizations I love reading about. But I felt that a lot of the Mayan history and beliefs were included in the book without a real plot reason as it never connected back to the robbery or murder.

The reveal at the end wasn't as surprising as it usually was. I had guessed a part of it, though there were some parts that were a surprise.

 Grade: C