The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True StoryThe Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
Format: Hardback
Published by Grand Central Publishing on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 304


A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

Who knew that there were so many civilizations in the southern hemisphere, The Lost City of the Monkey God takes us deep into the Mosquitia region of the Gracias a Dios Department in eastern Honduras, where the legendary “White City” supposedly existed.

The first third of the book tells how documentary filmmakers Steve Elkins and Bill Benenson have spent 20+ years searching for the “White City”. using a million-dollar lidar scanner, they were able to fly over the valley, probing the jungle canopy with laser light. Lidar is able to map the ground even through dense rain forest, delineating any archaeological features that might be present. What they found was a huge city. Was it the legendary “White City”? Who knows.

What ensues is the physical search of the area. If you have read any books on entering tropical rain forests you know they are fraught with dangers, while I appreciate the amount of time, effort and money invested in this project I am not wholly convinced that it is the riveting tale we are lead to believe we are getting. It is more a long version of the National Geographic article. From here Preston, takes off on a tangent about how those in the archaeology of Central America community attacked their expedition because Elkins billed it as finding the LOST “White City” which they (archaeologist) believe is a myth.

The last part of the book is about Leishmaniasis, the disease that Preston and many of his fellow crew members caught. It was interesting to learn what treatment they went through to contain the disease. Preston then goes on to speculate that the people of the city they found where wiped out by some disease that occurred during the contact period with explorers. There is nothing to back this up.

I read this book because Dana Stabenow rated with 5 stars and provided a rave review. I was not so impressed.

Victim Without A Face

Victim Without A FaceVictim Without a Face by Stefan Ahnhem
Format: Hardback
Published by Minotaur Books on September 6th 2016
Pages: 608

Series: Fabian Risk #1

The first book in an internationally bestselling, award-winning thriller series from Sweden, Victim Without a Face is a chilling novel about the ultimate revenge.
Two gruesome murders have shocked the Swedish town of Helsingborg. The first victim, a thug who liked using his fists, died with his hands sawn off. His sidekick, a fan of steel-capped boots, was crushed to death feet-first. Both men were bullies in the same class at school. Is someone serving justice after thirty years?
The killer leaves no trace behind. But for lead investigator Fabian Risk, the lack of forensic evidence is not the only problem. He too was a student in that class—which makes him both a potential victim and a potential suspect...
Full of unremitting suspense and unexpected twists, this is a sensational thriller from a superb debut storyteller.

Fabian Risk doesn’t know when to quit, he is like the energizer bunny he just keeps going and so does his first book, it just keeps going.

Risk has moved back to his hometown, to assume a job as a detective, after losing his job in Stockholm as a cop. It appears that someone is killing members of his high school class. Risk, who seems not to have a wit of good sense immediately becomes involved in the case, thinking that his new working companions are a bunch of dead beats. There are so many things going on in this story it sometimes is hard to keep track of the story line. While I enjoyed the book, the character Fabian Risk was at times grating, it way too long.

I will probably read the second book in the series and see how that goes, if it’s like the first it may be the last.