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Michelangelo's Ghost (Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt, #4) by Gigi Pandian
Cover Artist: Stephanie Chontos
Review by Gayle Surrette
Henery Press Kindle Edition  ISBN/ITEM#: B01I220KIO
Date: 04 October 2016

Links: Author's Website / Publisher's Book Page / Show Official Info /

Michelangelo's Ghost is the fourth book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series, and the first that I've read. It was an enjoyable adventure from start to finish. A bit of Indiana Jones, but with an emphasis on art, history, and not a little stealthy investigation in places where they weren't exactly supposed to be.

Jaya Jones is a historian hoping to get tenure, provided she can shine brighter as an academic than her competition. Her current research has her exploring trade routes between Europe and India. Jaya's life is running pretty smoothly lately, and her brother, Mahilan, who she calls Fish, is planning a visit to introduce her to his new girlfriend, Ava.

Then out of the blue, Jaya gets a call from her old professor and mentor, Lilith Vine. Lilith had made a few bad calls and nearly, or actually, depending on your point of view, destroyed her academic career. Jaya stayed behind in San Francisco rather than move with Lilith to her new teaching position. Lilith says she has found some evidence of some ground breaking information and needs to see Jaya.

Jaya visits and learns that Lilith had found an obscure reference in a dusty research paper that caught her interest. When she checked it out and followed some of the clues, she'd visited Italy and bought some old travel journals written by Lazaro Allegri, who may or may not have been a protege of Michelangelo. She believes his journals contain information about his hidden studio and that there they would find he'd applied Renaissance painting techniques to Indian subjects. Jaya is excited by the thought, but is understandably cautious, so Lilith lends her the three journals and other materials to look over.

Shortly afterwards, she learns of Lilith's death. By then Fish and Ava have joined Jaya, and Fish insists that they all go to Italy to check things out and see if the studio exists. Jaya tries to contact several people, including Lane Peters, who is a retired--maybe--art thief, but is unable to reach him.

Things quickly start getting confusing, and then dangerous. The studio may be in the Park of Monsters in Bomarzo, Italy. There's danger, a possible ghost, lots of quirky characters, descriptions of fabulous and sometimes strange foods, and historical details that add to the mystery and depth of the story. The mixture of actual historical events and people and the imagination of the author is smoothly done and very believable.

I definitely will be looking forward to more Jaya Jones adventures.

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