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A Tourist In The Yucatan Paperback – May 30, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


A page turning thriller steeped in the mystery of the Mayan Yucatán. Clever plot twists and engaging characters make this highly recommended for beach reading. Brumfield has an underground following that can't wait for his next book. (Bruce Conord, Co-author of the Adventure Guide to the Yucatán, Cancún & Cozumel)

From the Author

The story behind the story.

In 1987, my wife and I honeymooned on the Yucatan. We spent two months touring on the cheap. On the bus to Chichen Itza we met a fellow gringo who was traveling solo. He was in his thirties, handsome, spoke fluent Spanish, and was knowledgeable about both ancient and modern Mexico. We hit it off with this man and the three of us spent two weeks touring the Yucatan outback together. He convinced us to go places we never would have ventured to on our own and opened up a new world to us. At the end of our time together we said our good byes with hopes that we could get together in the future. Once back home, my wife wrote our new friend a number of times but he never responded. This got me to wondering who this fellow was. As I reflected back on our trip, I recalled some strange things about the man. For example, he promised to pay for a car rental if I would put it on my credit card. He did pay me in cash, but I thought it was odd he did not have a credit card, or maybe he did not want the car in his name. This got the wheels of my imagination turning, and was the genesis of "A Tourist in the Yucatan."

The settings in the book are real places. I also have a strong interest in the ancient Mayans, and while not an expert, I did try to reflect current scientific knowledge.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tres Picos Press; Second Edition edition (May 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974530905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974530901
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James McNay Brumfield resides on a ranch near the old mission town of San Juan Bautista in central California and divides his time between writing, training horses and mules, and working as a professional packer and mountain guide for Rock Creek Pack Station located in the Eastern Sierras. He has guided trips for over 25 years, and has traveled the High Sierra back country from Sonora Pass in the north, to the Forks of the Kern in the south--a distance of over 300 miles as the crow flies.

Brumfield is also five time World Champion Packer at Bishop Mule days and a member of numerous World Champion pack teams. In 2002 he trained and rode World Champion Green Cow Working Mule, Lil' Joe, and in 2007 Side Kicks Hard Luck.

Jim's mountain heritage runs deep. He is a 6th generation California, a direct descendent of Captain John Jordan who led a wagon train of emigrants to California from Brazos Texas in 1850. Captain Jordan also blazed one of the early trails across the High Sierra, the Jordan trail, and was probably the first white man to see a Golden Trout. John Jordan drowned in the Kern River in 1862.

Brumfield is the author of the thriller/adventure "A Tourist in the Yucatan" which grew out of his extended trips to Mexico to explore the ruin sites, and the modern day western "Across the High Lonesome" based on his 25 years working as a wilderness guide and packer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[...] I read "A Tourist in the Yucatan" based on Amazon's rave 5-star reviews. I could hardly have been more disappointed. I'll give credit for an interesting setting and a premise that may have worked, had Brumfield researched the ancient Mayan culture in more depth, and tied the mysteries of the Mayans into a modern day thriller. Unfortunately, "Tourist" augured into a typical - though more poorly conceived - government conspiracy fantasy featuring a plastic cast of characters and numbingly banal plot. Jack Phillips, around whom the story revolves, is insufferably whiny and as uninspiring a protagonist as I've encountered. This plot depends upon the reader's belief that a team from the US DEA has gone undercover in Mexico as drug dealers. It must never have occurred to the author that the DEA may consider using Latinos in these roles; the southern Cal frat-boy agents assigned south-of-the-border were about as inconspicuous in Mexico as Shaquille O'Neal at a Ku Klux Klan rally. The dialogue was consistently lame ("What had happened was not fair, but life was not fair.") But much of the awkward prose and flat dialogue could have been overlooked were it not exacerbated by the most atrocious editing I have ever seen in a published work. [...]

At one point, one of the James Bond-type undercover guys, while en route to the final encounter with the bad guys, says to Phillips, "I'm just making this up as I go along." That pretty much sums up "A Tourist in the Yucatan". [...]
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By N. Lo on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a first for me. I've read quite a few books, and this is the absolute first one that has simple spelling and grammar errors. It's as if the publisher/editor/author never bothered to read this over before deciding to mass-produce it. I'm not a grammar snob by any means, but if your job is to write, you shouldn't be making "your/you're" mistakes. It's not as if it occurs just once either. I noticed five errors in the first 30 pages. It's distracting and really prevented me from enjoying it.

For example, the first sentence of chapter 5 is "The Jack, Jo and Steve Potter departed the bus at Chichen Itza's main entrance and grabbed one of the many taxis competing for their pesos.". Jack, Jo, and Steve Potter are people! Why is there a "the" in the beginning of the sentence??

This author makes money off writing. He clearly is failing and needs to rethink his career. Nobody pays for a driving instructor that doesn't know how to park, right?

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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Lichtenfeld on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
A man is on a boat in Mexico waiting for a drug deal to go down. The drug deal goes bad and he goes on the lam. Is he a bad guy or working undercover?

A husband and wife are on a vacation in Mexico rekindling their marriage. They hope to connect with their friend who is an archeologist but they find themselves in the middle of a misunderstanding about drugs and ancient Mayan artifacts. Will they kill or be killed?

Basically, this plot has been done a million times and is not original. But even worse, the writing is bland and does not keep the story moving. It took me FOREVER to plod through this thin paperback novel. It's fine for a beach read, but there are other books out there in this genre that are much, much better.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By *BrownSugarMagazine on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Author James M. Brumfield has a handle on the history of the Mayans in the Yucatan and he uses this knowledge to weave a trashy, suspensful, B-movie, novel. The book reads like Raiders of the Lost Arc on paper: Smart academics caught up in a much larger (and evil) plot. There is also a whiff of John Grisham here with the myriad of characters and interconnected plot-lines; but Brumfield's novel isn't squeaky clean like Grisham's. A Tourist in the Yucatan has all the requisite elements of a good adventure; sex, intrigue, male-buddies-in-the-struggle-against-evil-doers, and archeological discoveries (with long walks in dark scary caves). Although the adventure takes too long to get going, once it does, it has a surreal old-school comic book style to it, making it a light summer read. I can almost see the KABOOM!s and POW!s in my head.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rita Sanchez on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Nothing too serious here, but it is an entertaining fast read that kept me turning the pages. The basic story line has already been covered by others here, so I won't rehash the plot. I thought the author did a great job of taking the mystery of the ancient Mayans and developing a credible modern day thriller plot around it. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the ancient ruin sites hidden in the jungle along with the historic colonial cities. The settings really add to the books mood. There are also a couple of great subplots that make for great reading. One negative is, that I thought there could have been more character development. My favorite character was the washed up, boozy state department hack, and I also think the Travis Horn Character would be great in a sequel. While I felt the story had a satisfying ending, not everything is tied up in a neat little bow at the end, and this may bother some - I FOUND IT REFRESHING! I also think this makes great threads for a future sequel! Overall if you like a good thriller adventure this might be the book for you!
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