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Artifacts    by Mary Anna Evans order for
by Mary Anna Evans
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mary Anna Evans' first novel features Faye Longchamp, an archaeologist selling artifacts on the black market. She does so in an effort to pay the property taxes on her crumbling family mansion on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's coast. Faye is of interracial background. She is tiny but with a will of iron, and determined to save and maintain her heritage. As an illegal 'pothunter', Faye runs the risk of being caught selling treasures from the past on the black market for her own gain.

While on a legitimate digging site, she succumbs to an instinct and uncovers the bones of a woman who has been missing for forty years. One thing leads to another and more bones are uncovered. Two archaeology students are murdered and the chase to find the killer or killers is begun. The cover alone is enough to make you anticipate nefarious happenings between the pages of this fast-paced, exciting mystery. It depicts a crumbling mansion and live oak trees that suggest worlds not visited before. Suspicious characters abound and Faye finds herself in more than one hairy situation. The end of the book would raise hackles on anyone's spine.

The author has researched not only her protagonist's profession but also the history of the Gulf Coast of Florida and the vagaries of its hurricanes. Artifacts is a quick but very satisfying read by an author, of whom I hope to see more.

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