Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dancing With The Tiger by Lili Wright

In the world of Mexican art, one prize has long been talked about.  It is the funeral mask of Montezuma, long fabled but never seen.  If found, it would be priceless.  When a tweeker digs it up deep in a cave, events are put into play that will lead to death and disaster.

Many people want the mask.  There is Daniel, an American collector who has spent his life collecting Mexican masks and wants nothing more than an exhibit at the Metropolitan bearing his late wife's name.  Malone is his greatest rival and has the advantage of actually living in Mexico along with his wealthy wife.  Anna is Daniel's daughter, at loose ends and determined to find the mask to save her father's dream.  Reyes is the drug dealer who buys the mask from the tweeker for a song and is enraged when it is stolen back.  The tweeker wants to find the mask to sell it and regain his life before drugs.  Hector is Reye's assassin, who is tasked with retrieving the mask no matter what it takes.  Salvadore is a Mexican artist who wishes to end the exploitation of his country's treasures by outsiders.

Each is determined to find the treasure and use it for their own ends.  Some want it for gain, some for glory, but each will do anything and use anyone to possess it.  The mask is moved around as it is lost, refound, stolen from one person, then from the next until it is impossible to tell who has it.  The best and worst of individuals come to light as they all strive to gain their goals.  Love and betrayal, evil and goodness, all come into play.

Dancing With The Tiger is Wright's debut novel.  She worked as a journalist for more than a decade and her first book was a nonfiction account of her trip from Maine to Florida.  In this book, she explores the concept of masks and how we hide our true selves, of friendship and family connections and what we will do for them, how sex can be used as a gift or a tool, and the exploitation of native cultures by wealthier ones.  The pace is fast, the action powerful and suspenseful.  This book is recommended to thriller readers.

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