First things first, I had to look up ‘speleology’. Having never heard this word I was intrigued, since it was linked with everybody’s favorite word, ‘sex’. I suspect we’re all disappointed to find that it is simply the study and exploration of caves, but without this great word the book would lack direction. This is written in first-person by Max, whose wife is Sally and nine-year-old twin daughters are Mary and Margaret. Max and Sally find them adorable, however, they are not blind to their daughters’ tendencies, which consist of going their own way in spite of their parents, easily convincing and dragging innocent bystanders right along with them.
Let’s begin. This is a very entertaining story. Apparently, Max has gone treasure hunting in the past and now has two daughters and a wife who think spending their summer vacation doing a rather dangerous activity is just the thing to bring new meaning to the word vacation. Max can’t stand against his family of women and, being the only dissenting vote, he prepares to spend time with them in the Georgia mines, searching for Confederate gold.
Sally has a fascinating uncle, Skeeter. As a young man he excelled at whatever he put his hand to and always tried to do the right thing. His return from serving in Vietnam brought home a very different man, one who brawled his way through his enlistment along with accumulating several AWOLs. No one knows how he supports himself and as they grow accustomed to his conversations, consisting of spies, implanted chips and chemicals, the family decides Skeeter is just as fine a man as he was before he served. Skeeter has a lot of stories about Confederate gold: who had carried it during the Civil War, who had delivered it during the war, and who had likely buried it during the war. He is more than happy to share what information he has and, as they sit in a local restaurant, they pour over maps of mines in the area. They make their plans and agree to meet the next morning.
Max and Sally awake to discover their daughters have talked Skeeter into starting their hunt early. They have not left a note and Max and Sally have no idea where they are or which mine they should hit first. They decide to go to Skeeter’s place to look for clues. What they find is vague, but they finally settle on a mine to investigate, looking for their twins.
There is always a bad guy(s) and, unfortunately, their waitress from the prior evening is married to one. Once she spreads the word of the possibility of gold in the mines, there is no way to keep it quiet. Being the only ones on the dirt road near Skeeter’s home, Max and Sally are passed by several men in pickups. Wondering why anyone would want to travel the bumpy road to Skeeter’s, Max turns around and follows. They hide in the brush while the men begin yelling for Skeeter, carelessly shooting guns and hitting Skeeter’s dog. Max can tell by the look on Sally’s face that she is not going to forget what happened to this dog. Well aware that the men are drunk, Max is much more careful following them. Since they are looking for Mary and Margaret also, there is no way Max and Sally aren’t going to be right behind these men until they can manage to get in front of them. However, these guys are playing for keeps and they discover they better find the girls before anyone else does.
I like a story that has fun and action and this one does. Max and his wife can’t help but meet interesting people with wild backgrounds. Such as the young employee, Shawn, at the car rental. Who knew that shortly his car would be blown to smithereens and for his own safety he should travel along with the treasure hunters? Or Bob and Brenda, an older couple who live along a trail to one of the mines. Bob looks to be in his seventies and Brenda appears to be in her fifties. He has hair sprouting on his shoulders and she, wearing a bikini, has more leathery skin than any human should be forced to see. There are plenty of fascinating characters and, unfortunately, the bad people are truly bad. I couldn’t wait to see what Sally was going to do when it came to revenge for Skeeter’s dog. Did I mention she carries a gun?
- Genre and general reading age – I would call this book suspense with humor for adults and teens.
- Level of sexuality – Low.
- Is there graphic language? Some.
- Did I cry? No.
- Did I laugh? I did and it also made me smile in amusement a lot.
- Is this part of a series? Yes, the Max Brown series.
- Level of character development – These are well-rounded characters.
I believe I would enjoy the other Max Brown books and I give this one ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.