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Stalking Ivory
Jade del Cameron Book, No. 2

by Suzanne Arruda

      Stalking Ivory is the second book in a new series whose heroine explores the glories of Africa in the 1920s with her cameras, notebooks, and a nose for adventure. Not to mention a pet cheetah, a few friends, and a young Kikuyu she is mentoring. Jade del Cameron grew up ranching in the American West: tough, strong, determined, physically capable, and with a taste for wandering out well past the edges of civilization. She's currently finding a sort of peace in the combination of beauty, adventure, and relative solitude British East Africa offers, to help her recover from some recent traumas, such as the death of her fiancÚ. Unfortunately that peace doesn't last very long, as she stumbles across a number of elephant carcasses with their tusks removed while out photographing elephants for a photo-essay. Along with a human corpse. Jade doesn't need the warnings everyone is eager to press on her to know that danger shadows her every move as she looks for the poachers. She can't leave things alone though, and when her young Kikuyu friend is kidnapped, well... the most dangerous animal in the jungle no longer walks on four legs.

Various places have linked this series to Alexander McCall. Let me disabuse you of that idea, which is a disservice to both authors. Both series give a highly vivid, personal depiction of their East African settings, but that's about it. McCall Smith's books are primarily character sketches strung together with vignettes around life lessons. Very popular, and I can see the appeal, but I've never thought them true mysteries, and they're not at all to my taste. Ms. Arruda on the other hand writes old-fashioned sprawling action adventure stories, full of strong, fast-paced action and larger than life characters, with a little bit of romance for a sweetener. Vivid, lose-yourself-in-it virtual travel to a very different place and time, and a life whose excitement makes the usual humdrum disappear.

What a lot of thoroughly escapist fun reading. Recommended.

The Book

NAL (New American Library)
January 2007
Thriller/Suspense - Historical 1920 British East Africa
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The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2007
© 2006