Mayan Mendacity & The Four Legendary Kingdoms, Book Reviews

Quick reviews of two recent additions to book series I am a faithful follower of: L J M Owen’s Intermillennial Sleuth Dr Elizabeth Pimms and Matthew Reilly’s Jack West Jr.

Mayan Mendacity by L J M OwenMayan Mendacity Synopsis

Dr Elizabeth Pimms has a new puzzle.

What is the story behind the tiny skeletons discovered on a Guatemalan island? And how do they relate to an ancient Mayan queen?

The bones, along with other remains, are a gift for Elizabeth. But soon the giver reveals his true nature. An enraged colleague then questions Elizabeth’s family history. Elizabeth seeks DNA evidence to put all skeletons to rest.

A pregnant enemy, a crystal skull, a New York foodie, and an intruder in Elizabeth’s phrenic library variously aid or interrupt Elizabeth’s attempts to solve mysteries both ancient and personal.

With archaeological intrigue, forensic insight and cosy comfort, Mayan Mendacity takes readers back into the world of Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

(Echo Publishing)

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Mayan Mendacity is the much anticipated follow-up to L J M Owen’s Olmec Obituary in which she brought forth into the literary world the ‘appealing mix of social awkwardness, emotional naivety and head-strong, academic passion’ that is Dr Elizabeth Pimms.

Firstly, hats off to Echo for the new series packaging – the physical book itself has a real quality feeling about it and I think the artwork captures the essence of this ‘thinking person’s cosy mystery’ series perfectly.

When reviewing a series title comparisons to what came before are inevitable. While Elizabeth’s domestic storyline felt less cohesive than the first novel, I found myself hooked on the mystery and intrigue Owen developed in the clever parallel archaeological storyline in this episode. I was also really pleased to see growth in Elizabeth’s character and ‘spring cleaning’ on the domestic front, paving the way for some exciting opportunities (both professional and personal) in the next novel, Alexandrian Athenaeum.

What I love about this Dr Pimms Intermillenial Sleuth series is the heart of the characters in it, and specifically their collective celebration of and respect for friends and family, food, history and intellectual curiosity. If you, like me, lament the lessening importance placed on these things in society, then Owen’s novels will be your cup of tea.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 3.5 / 5

Get your copy of Mayan Mendacity from:

Booktopia(Aus) | Book Depository | AmazonKobobooks

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Historical

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2016 and the 2016 Australian Women Writers Challenge.

About the Author, LJM Owen

L.J.M. Owen drew extensively on her education and experience when developing the novel. Relevant qualifications include an undergraduate degree in archaeology and a PhD in palaeogenetics from ANU, and a graduate diploma in library management from Curtin University.

* My receiving a copy of Mayan Mendacity from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.

The Four Legendary Kingdoms SynopsisThe Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly


Jack West Jr and his family are living happily on their remote farm… when Jack is brutally kidnapped and he awakes in an underground cell to find a masked attacker with a knife charging at him.


Jack, it seems, has been chosen – along with a dozen other elite soldiers – to compete in a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfil an ancient ritual. With the fate of the Earth at stake, he will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight cruel assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him like he has never been tested before.


In the process, he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms. He might also discover that he is not the only hero in this place…



While it was a Scarecrow series title, Ice Station, that originally got me hooked on Matthew Reilly’s high octane novels, I’d always found the more eclectic (and less exclusively military) cast of characters that populate his Jack West Jr Series intriguing.

After The Five Greatest Warriors (2009) tied up many loose ends and felt very much like a logical conclusion to the series, I wondered whether Reilly’s resurrection of Jack West would feel worthy. While the result is predictably ‘pure unadulterated escapism’ (what one expects when selecting a Reilly novel), he has included a few nice surprises for long time fans – Lily and Alby are all grown-up and several other favourite characters make credible appearances with impact.

The only let down for me was the more passive roles allocated to previously feisty female characters in this outing. That said, The Four Legendary Kingdoms overtly sets the framework for at least two more instalments in the series, so am hopeful they prove to be stages for the ladies to shine. One for the Reilly fans.

BOOK RATING: The Story 3 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5

Get your copy of Four Legendary Kingdoms from:

Booktopia(Aus) | Book Depository | AmazonKobobooks

Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2016.

About the Author, Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of the Scarecrow novels: Ice StationArea 7ScarecrowScarecrow and the Army of Thieves and the novella Hell Island; the Jack West novels: Seven Ancient WondersThe Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors; and the standalone novels ContestTempleHover Car RacerThe TournamentTroll Mountain and The Great Zoo of China.