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In Golden Blood    by Stephen Woodworth order for
In Golden Blood
by Stephen Woodworth
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Stephen Woodworth continues his nifty paranormal Violet series with this third installment, In Golden Blood. Natalie Lindstrom remains determined to keep herself and most especially her daughter, Callie, out of the clutches of the NAACC (North American Afterlife Communications Corps). But living an independent life free of the powerful organization's protection is not easy. Agents monitor their activities 24/7 (they dearly want Callie, who's also a Violet) and continue making it very difficult for Natalie to earn a living. Most potential employers want nothing to do with a Violet and using her talents freelance is dangerous for Natalie without the special soul scan equipment exclusive to the NAACC. Money woes escalate and only become worse when her father needs expensive open-heart surgery that's not covered by his health plan.

When an archeologist offers Natalie one million dollars to travel to Peru and summon the soul of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, she's leery. Natalie senses the motives of Dr. Wilcox and his associate, entrepreneur Nathan Azure, are purely mercenary - Azure is certain Pizzaro buried a personal hoard of immense wealth in the mountains. But the promise of so much money for a few days work is hard to resist, and Natalie reluctantly agrees. She successfully channels the soul of the arrogant Pizarro, who's spent the last centuries in his own personal hell dealing with the angry souls of the thousands of Incas he and his armies slaughtered for their gold. He does eventually reveal the location of his fortune, but by this time, Natalie knows her life is forfeit once she shares the knowledge with Azure. Escape is her only recourse if she ever wants to see her daughter again. Knowing that her death would make Callie an easy target for the NAACC only strengthens her resolve to outwit Azure and his hired thugs.

While not as involved as the previous two books, In Golden Blood is a fine addition to this fresh and fascinating speculative series. This story is pure action/adventure and while the villains are rather run of the mill, their quest to locate Pizarro's gold via the man himself is intriguing. The main focus of course is Natalie, who continues to grow and discover her inner strength as she works to make a permanent break from the machinations of the NAACC. If you aren't already following this series, then do yourself a favor and read these books - I'm sure you'll agree that Stephen Woodworth is an author on the rise.

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