REVIEW: The Art of Possession by Cari Z
When a treasure-hunting black ops soldier and a disgraced, reckless archeologist team up in search of a priceless artifact, they might get more than they bargained for.
Ever since leaving the Green Berets to work in private security, Alex Tucker has longed for some excitement—and he’s about to get his wish.
Archeologist Malcolm Armstrong needs the chance to prove he isn’t a fraud. Along with Alex, he’s hired to track down and authenticate a valuable scepter, in a hunt that turns deadlier than either of them imagined as they search dangerous locations across three continents and try to stay ahead of the factions who want the treasure for themselves—and Malcolm and Alex dead.
Just as they realize the feelings between them transcend convenience and the thrill of the chase, a rival reemerges, threatening everything.
Dear Cari Z,
For the most part I really loved this Indiana Jones like adventure with the beginning of a gay romance thrown in. Readers, when I say *Indiana Jones like* I only mean that our guys chase a priceless almost mystical artifact during the story. There was also a joke somewhere early in the narrative about Indiana Jones not being in existence, so two people will combine their efforts or something to that effect.
Alex is a former Green Beret who now works for a private security company whose employees do a lot of interesting things. Alex’s assignment before deciding to take on the recovery of the stolen artifact was to save a kidnapped young woman. Malcolm used to work as a curator in the British Museum, but now works for another museum. He parted ways with the British Museum because he was forced to do so and Malcolm would like to prove that his professional expertise is just as good today as it was in the past.
The client wants Malcolm and Alex to work together to find the scepter. Alex would retrieve the artifact from the thief and Malcolm would confirm that the scepter was real and not fake.
I finished this book in two days. The fast moving plot was engaging and had some light touches of humor. I was not worried that the book would end tragically, but I wondered what would happen next and it had me turning the pages.
The story is an adventure with romance playing a second fiddle and it made perfect sense to me. The guys were very busy even when they were not fighting for their lives, they were trying to prepare and foresee what kind of fight will come next, so it made sense to me that they did not have time to work on their relationship. That being said, in the books like this (adventure books where a romance just begins) sometimes even the attraction is not believable to me. In this book it was! I thought they had very nice chemistry and had a shot at the relationship working out.
Here Alex contemplates on whether to work with Mal.
“Amateur hour. At least when it came to the actual mission. I had no doubt this guy was a competent curator and historian, but he didn’t exactly strike me as well prepared for much else. Who went out and about in London without an umbrella, for fuck’s sake? He’d probably been on the edge of freezing all night—it was cold in the Reading Room. And it was clear from the way he’d reacted to my gun that he wasn’t used to seeing them, or comfortable with them. As far as physical backup went, he’d be next to useless.
All of that should have made me hesitant when it came to partnering with him, but there was something about him… maybe it was the way he hadn’t hesitated to tell each and every one of us off, maybe it was in how Thorburn’s presence clearly irritated him but he managed to work around it…. Whatever it was, it interested me.
He might not know how to shoot or have the common sense that God gave geese, but he had a spine. And he was willing to abide by the somewhat-ridiculous rules these two had laid on us, which I’d balked at, at first.”
Here is Mal after they worked a little on his shooting skills. Don’t worry he did not become a super shooter overnight, it would have been ridiculous to me, he just learned some basics, which once again sounded believable enough.
“By the time we called it a night, I could disassemble and reassemble a Kahr CW9, knew the difference between a clip and a magazine, and had rather hopelessly solidified my crush on a man who was too professional to even dream of hitting on me while we were embroiled in a hunt for the scepter of Mansa Musa.”
I thought it was good that the author made sure not to make a super hero out of Alex either. Yes, he was a former Green Beret, but the author tells us that he is better at shooting than at some other stuff.
I loved that the men did not have sex till they actually had some hours to devote to getting some rest. I loved them together and bought that they may be able to built something more based on what they already been through and I was just plain entertained by this story.
The weakness for me was a main bad guy. He was telegraphed so much I almost rolled my eyes, but it was not really a mystery, so I tried to roll with it.