Book Showcase: Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S. Alderson
Jennifer S. Alderson's title "Rituals of the Dead" came in at number 13 in the Best Indie Books Title of 2018
Synopsis: Stolen artifacts, a missing anthropologist and a tenacious amateur sleuth. American art history student Zelda Richardson is back and embroiled in another exciting art-related mystery! This time she is working at an anthropology museum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of artifacts from the Asmat region of Papua – the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1961. When the anthropologist’s journal is found inside an artifact’s crate, Zelda is tasked with finding out more about the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects. Trouble is, she soon discovers disturbing links between his vanishing, the Dutch government and the Catholic Church. When her co-worker and housemate are murdered shortly after, Zelda finds herself pulled into a world of shady anthropologists, colonial officials, missionaries and smugglers – where the line between good and evil is blurry at best, and the only certainty is that sins of the past are never fully erased. Join Zelda on her next quest as she grapples with the anthropologist’s mysterious disappearance fifty years earlier, and a present-day murderer who will do everything to prevent her from uncovering the truth. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in this edge-of-your-seat museum mystery thriller, Book Three of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series. The novels can be read in any order. WhisperSync for Voice ready and currently in Kindle Unlimited.
Excerpt: Nick shook his head in disdain, certain the locals had given up too quickly. They all sprang into the water and began swimming as soon as they had discovered the first leak. If only they hadn’t moved that bag of beads, then the water wouldn’t have filled the hull so quickly. Nick bashed his coffee tin onto the bottom of the canoe as he scooped, his irritation manifesting itself as Albert Schenk entered his mind. That Dutchman should be here helping me, Nick thought. His fever couldn’t have come at a worse moment. A few feet away, a gurgling noise made him jump. The second canoe finally took on more water than it could handle. As soon as the holes in both were found, he’d cut it loose along with the makeshift platform connecting them together like a catamaran. Nick’s face paled as he watched its stern slowly rise until the canoe was perpendicular to the water’s surface. The platform hung off it like a starched flag. Nick watched in fascination as it stood stock-still, seemingly frozen in space and time, before suddenly disappearing into the sea. Several large air bubbles broke on the surface, the only sign the boat ever existed. Nick gazed down into the dark water and redoubled his efforts. Inexplicably, a can of tobacco soon rose from where the canoe had gone under, and it bobbed next to him. Its airtight container would make a useful floatation device, Nick thought, resolving to keep it in sight. Almost all of his supplies had gone under as soon as he cut the second canoe loose. The rest he had thrown into the sea in hopes of making his boat light enough that the two holes in the stern would rise above the water’s surface. Not that he had to worry about wasting supplies. He had plenty more stored in Agats. Losing these trading goods was a minor delay, not a setback. Nick laughed, splitting his lip further. Blood dripped down his chin as his thin bray drifted across the waves. Just as capsizing and sinking was a minor irritation, he thought, giggling again despite the pain. Cracks of lightning tore across the broad sky. Thunder rumbled seconds later. The storm was closing in fast, Nick realized. He hadn’t taken into consideration the storms that frequently whipped across the jungle. If the rain started soon, he would never be able to get the boat floating enough to paddle back. Especially with only one oar to help—the rest had floated away in the ensuing panic when his rowers discovered the gashes in both boats’ sterns. As a second streak lit up the sky, Nick cleared his mind and focused on nothing but his coffee can. Dip, scoop, pour. Dip, scoop, pour. He had to survive—he was a Mayfield. It was his destiny to do great things, not die in the open ocean. Dip, scoop, pour. Dip, scoop, pour. And as every Mayfield knew, he had his destiny in his own hands. Social media: https://www.facebook.com/RitualsoftheDead/