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Pirate Vishnu (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery) (Volume 2) Paperback – February 11, 2014
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"Through her effective use of a parallel historical narrative, the author streamlines an intricate plot." ---Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After being dragged around the world during her childhood, she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school. But adventurous academic characters wouldn’t stay out of her head. Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. The first book in the series, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant.
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Pirate Vishnu is the second book in the Jaya Jones series. You won't have to read Artifact, the first book, in order to enjoy this one, but it would be helpful. Some of the characters might be a bit confusing without the original background established.
Jaya has just returned to her home in San Francisco from Scotland (the setting for Artifact). While trying to complete an article that, hopefully, will result in a tenured position at her university, she is interrupted by Steven Healy, a retired lawyer wishing her assistance in locating a "family treasure". He thinks it's hidden in San Francisco, and that it is part of Jaya's heritage too. It seems that her uncle Anand may have drawn the treasure map Steven leaves with her. He gives her a 24 hours deadline before his return, which is when he will give her the rest of the story.
Jaya really doesn't want to start another adventure, but she does love a good puzzle, so she sets out to see if she can discover anything before she turns the job down. Enlisting the help of a few friends, she does make a bit of progress, however, when Steven's murder is the top story on the evening news, she finds herself thrown into a true treasure hunt, with her life at stake.
This is a fast paced adventure, spanning a century between the death of Jaya's uncle Anand and the murder of Steven Healy. Jaya finds herself searching for clues in both San Francisco and India, and relying on friends and lovers to keep her safe. She hates that part, because even though she is small in stature, she feels she can conquer anything, and seems to constantly put herself in threatening situations.
I love her spunk, her logic and her friends. Gigi keeps the tension level high, and it's impossible to put her books down.
If you love mystery, adventure and a bit of romance, some of it unexpected by Jaya, I think you'll love this book, and series, as much as I do. Now on to Quicksand, the 3rd book in this series.
The Second Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
Pirate Vishnu is the best of both worlds: a unique modern mystery intimately tied to historic lore. Pirate Vishnu is an adventure mystery puzzle wrapped in history. Jaya Jones is once again thrust in the middle of intrigue when a man challenges her family history stating that her great granduncle Anand did not die heroically saving a friend in the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906. Instead, he lived only to steal treasure from the man's family. Given a treasure map written by Anand, Jaya searches through San Franciscan, Indian, and her own family history to find the truth. We also get to read the story of Anand as the events really happened as the author intersperses chapters of the modern day mystery with the tale from the past.
This book grabbed me from the start and never let me go. The alternating stories of past and present was a brilliant move by Gigi Pandian letting readers experience Anand's adventurous life in two ways; through his truth as it happened and how family lore and history remembered it. Giving us his truth gave Jaya's discoveries even more impact.
As for the characters...what a fantastic group! Jaya Jones is a wonderful character even if she is "the worst Indian ever". Jaya is a small, but formidable woman; an intelligent historian looking for tenure who happens to get involved in some amazing adventures. We have her best friend Sanjay, the Hindu Houdini, always there to help, perhaps more than Jaya realizes. The mysterious Lane, a romantic enigma who comes and goes like the San Fransisco fog. In Pirate Vishnu we also learn more about Nadia, Jaya's Russian landlady, and Tamarind, librarian extraordinaire (Shut. Up.). There's also the slimy Naveen, vying for tenure with Jaya and willing to go to great lengths to get it. We also meet the cast from the past-Anand and his friends, Li and Samuel. These characters are just as vibrant as the people from the present, their story just as vital.
Pirate Vishnu delivers everything you want in a mystery, interesting, believable characters you care about, locations that come alive and make you want to explore them yourself, a dash of romance, history that comes to life, and a challenging puzzle to solve.