By: Raymond Khoury
Performed by: Richard Ferrone
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Copyright Date: December 22, 2011
Number of Discs: 10
Format: Fiction/Suspense Thriller
Reason for Reading: Blurb looking very promising.
From the author’s website:
FBI agent Sean Reilly and archaeologist-turned-novelist Tess Chaykin are back in another edge-of-your-seat thriller that reaches from the present day back to 1700s Mexico and, quite possibly, far, far beyond…
An unexpected phone call from three thousand miles away.
A voice he hadn’t heard in more than five years.
A desperate cry for help that he couldn’t ignore.
And two small words that would change everything—everything—about his life.
Without a second’s hesitation, Reilly is hurtling across the country to rush to the aid of his old friend, not knowing that he’s getting sucked into a deadly race—against the clock, against a vicious gang of kidnappers, against a brutal Mexican drug kingpin known only as “El Brujo”—the sorcerer—and even against his own government’s authorities—as he struggles to make sense of two divergent trails, one several hundred years old, the other as current as a heartbeat, that lead to a mysterious drug that’s capable of inducing a momentous experience that’s so shocking it could drag humanity down a whirlpool of pain and chaos.
Reilly’s back—and The Devil’s Elixir is his most personal, intense, and gut-wrenching story yet.
Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Penguin Audio. I received no compensation for this review, and the thoughts/opinions expressed are entirely my own. The Devil’s Elixir is available in stores now!
Rating Book: B-
Rating Audio: A-
The plot is so intricate that it’s difficult to sum up into one tidy paragraph. In short, deep in the wilds of the Sierra Madre lives a tribe who concocts a drug, the Devil’s Elixir, that creates a most unusual trip. El Brujo, a ruthless kingpin/drug lord is desperately seeking a way to mass-produce the drug for consumption in the United States and abroad. He was almost there when a joint sting operation made up of FBI and DEA agents busted the compound and killed the scientist who had figured it out. For five years, El Brujo has bided his time until he gets word that the key to solving his problem might be living in California.
For Sean Reilly, FBI, it’s a murky mess as he works to unravel the threads leading to a discovery that could shake the very foundation of society.
My Thoughts about the Book:
I have wanted to read Raymond Khoury for a while, but never quite gotten around to it. The Devil’s Elixir was a good place to start. I like my mysteries extra mysterious and spooky and this delivered. There was a bit of the paranormal in the story, but I feel like I can’t expound on that without giving away a large chunk of the plot. Suffice to say that, though I was able to predict some plot elements, certain twists and turns were entirely unexpected.
I can get cranky with some books in this genre for taking their female characters for granted. Not so, here. The females in this book are brilliant, highly effective, and flat-out kick-ass. While it’s Sean’s show, the supporting characters truly support, coming up with theories and working on gut instinct to bring the entire conflict to a head.
My only grump is the ending, and once again I can’t expound, except to say that in this case a bit more mystery would have been ultimately more satisfying. I don’t always want to know how the magician performed his trick, but Khoury lays it all out. On the one hand, it’s genius how the game was played, but on the other, knowing the trick took away the magic.
My Thoughts about the audio performance:
Richard Ferrone has the best FBI agent voice ever, masculine and all Sam Spade cool, while still projecting warmth, particularly when the subject works it’s way around to Tess. I truly enjoyed the character performances, even the aforementioned Tess, performed in a softer tone from Reilly sounded fully realized to me. Ferrone owned this story and wound up slightly elevating it.
Twisted, exciting, hectic fun.