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on September 3, 2015
This book was a really fun vacation read for me! It's a total edge of your seat page turner / thrilling adventure. Sunken pirate ships, lost gold, frightening sea creatures and creepy tribal religious cults. The author is quite the master at keeping you guessing and surprising you as the story unfolds. I was on a Caribbean vacation when I read this and it was the perfect book for the trip. I highly recommend it for anyone that's looking for a good adventure thriller to relax with on a Mexican or Caribbean trip. It totally sets the mood. I'm getting started on David Angsten's next book now. He has me hooked.
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on January 2, 2015
great read captivating and enjoyable to the end
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on January 1, 2015
An OK read but the author couldn't seem to decide whether this was a straight adventure, treasure story or a science fiction, mutant monster story. A carnivorous Manta Ray guarding a sunken treasure and supported by a human sacrificing death cult on land...? It was a little hard to buy into it all.
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2010
Ever since the great author, Peter Benchley, passed away I have been seeking alternatives to provide the type of undersea thriller/adventure he was so supurb at.

With David Angsten's debut novel, "Dark Gold", immediate comparisons to Benchley (as well as to modern historical thriller writers like James Rollins and Steve Berry) are evident. Young Jack Duran goes to Mexico in search of his older, lost brother Dan who apparantly had stumbled upon a treasure trove of underwater gold. Legend in that part of Mexico is that this treasure was protected by el Diablo Blanco --- a giant, white Manta Ray --- who would kill any who attempted passage in its' territory.

Filled with thrills, chills and swash-buckling adventure, "Dark Gold" is the perfect summer read!
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2009
A fun sort of summer book, that had less to do with the ocean and the giant, man-eating, albino manta ray than I had hoped. It was mostly about gold - an African-slave-ship-gold-rush-sort of treasure hunt. The most shocking part of it was the rather graphic sex scene that was so obviously written by a man. It was, I suppose, rather enlightening and laughably male... Still, overall, the book was ridiculous, but engrossing. I suppose I would keep an eye out for the sequel (but only in paperback!).
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on December 30, 2008
"Dark Gold" was great fun. I couldn't put it down. The smart blend of history, scenery and story was great fun. Amazing sex too. Deserved success for first time novelist David Angsten. I will definitely read your next novel! Jodi Wagner
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VINE VOICEon November 25, 2008
Jack Duran and his two best friends, Rock and Duff, have been painting houses and saving money, and now they're ready to take a trip around the world. Their first stop is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the last known location of Jack's wild older brother Dan. Jack's mother has been frantic with worry since she hasn't heard from her eldest son in months, so the three young men spend several weeks scouring Puerto Vallarta for any sign of Dan, with no success. When Jack finally finds a scrap of information, it comes with a warning in the form of "Yanqui go home," carved into his back with a knife. Naturally, instead of heeding the warning, Jack, Rock, and Duff attempt to hire a boat to Punta Perdida, where Jack now believes Dan to be. But no one will take them, calling it a bad place. The guys befriend another trio on a yacht, however. Portly Jamaican Hector Bellocheque is on vacation sailing with two lovely young women, Eva and Candy, and the whole group is soon on their way to the strange village. Bellocheque intrigues the young men with a tale of lost gold on the sea bottom near Punta Perdida, and when a maimed priest in the village gives Jack his missing brother's knapsack and hurries him away, they know that Dan is dead.

One of the items in Dan's knapsack is a notebook filled with his stoned ramblings, diagrams, and a diary of sorts that gives directions to a wreck called the Argonaut lying on the bottom near the village. The group decides to go looking for it, and with the notebook's directions, it is not long before the Argonaut is found. Shortly thereafter, Hector and Candy return from the dive with more gold coins like the one Hector had shown them earlier. Jack and Duff dive next, and Jack discovers five chests full of gold bars. Duff heads back to the surface ahead of Jack, and Jack then sees something so frighteningly huge, he passes out and has to be rescued by the others. They inform him Duff never made it back to the boat.

After Jack witnesses a strange, dark ritual too bizarre to seem real in Punta Perdida, Bellocheque tells them the legend behind the Argonaut and of the giant manta ray that guards the gold, which ties into the antisocial behavior of the villagers. The stakes are high, but the payoff will be great if they can abscond with the Argonaut's gold. There are other dangers, as well as the huge manta, and Jack discovers the seductive lure of gold and the immense risks and depraved depths it will take people to, as well as the high price to pay for its wealth.

Though it starred one heck of a scary monster and had its share of action, this was far more than a mere monster book. Angsten has a wry and entertaining way of turning a phrase, and Jack Duran experiences more than greed, lust, and fear while he finds his soul turned inside out by Punta Perdida, the Argonaut, and the legendary Diablo Blanco, the immense manta ray. Though some aspects of the story unfolded as predicted, there were enough unexpected twists to keep me guessing. David Angsten has a new fan.
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on October 13, 2008
"Jaws" had it's Great White. "The Deep" had it's Moray, and now, "Dark Gold" has it's giant supernatural...what?

Of course, the cover ruins the secret; it's a giant manta ray.

What is wrong with this publisher? Angsten's devilfish doesn't show up until very late in the story, and is never actually seen clearly by a character. The story would be much scarier without the cover image. I know, cause I read the book on my Kindle. I didn't know what the thing was, and there was no cover image to tip me off.

Dark Gold starts out like a house afire as recent grad Jack Duran and two buddies set out to find Jack's older brother, who hasn't been heard from since he sent a postcard from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Jack's search leads him to - what could be scarier than a biker bar deep in Mexico at night - where he first hears the words "Punta Perdida," and then has to fight his way out of the place before he can take the next step.

Arriving at Punta Perdida, the bumbling detectives find the natives sullen and uncommnicative, but Jack is able to establish that his brother has been there. Enter rich Bahamian Leopold Bellocheque and his ravishing all girl crew aboard his fabulous sailing yacht and you have the full set of ingredients for intrigue. It turns out there might be a gold rush era shipwreck - enough gold to make the Atocha look like a garbage scow - and close, very close. Why hasn't the wreck been looted long ago? Duh! It's the same reason the natives burn ritual fires on the beach and make sacrifices that are bloody and violent and might even be human: there's something SCARY out there.

Unfortunately, as so often happens when an author attempts to introduce elements of the supernatural late in a story, a kind of "haze" develops, the plot begins to blur and ultimately loses focus. You might call it the rush of events. I call it an author who hasn't quite fully developed his ability to quide the reader's experience. It happens here. The logic isn't good enough and I wasn't sold. And sadly, the author also passes on opportunities to develop the characters, particularly the supporting actors, into well-rounded likeable people, choosing instead to keep the action moving at all costs - and we find ourselves witnessing developments that make little sense and which we don't care about all that much one way or the other.

Dark Gold is still plenty scary - if you've ever been underwater and behind your back something has started to eat your friends, you know what I mean - and the claustrophobic scenes inside the treasure ship are vivid and incredibly tense. All this is helped by the author's polished prose and application of suspense. Given all its successes, the story simply asks the reader to bend disbelief a shade too far, and as we all know, when it snaps, it's gone and cannot be retrieved.

Could have taken all the marbles, but didn't.

Art Tirrell is the author of 2007's The Secret Ever Keeps
...Simply put, the best underwater scenes I've ever read." (M. Westley)
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on July 27, 2008
This was a waste. I gave up half way through the book, and only wish I had quit sooner.
This is poorly written, make that poorly written pretentious crap.
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on April 12, 2008
I took this book on holiday hoping for an enjoyable read.
I got a book with a confusing, highly unlikely plot which tried to be a mixture of a number of themes (voodoo, sex novel,natural history) and failed on all counts.
Don't waste your time
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