Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Molina Curse by Charles L. Fields – Book Review

Publisher’s write-up:

The Molina Curse is the sequel to Tainted Dish and the fifth book in the Charles Stone Travel / Mystery / Thriller series. The protagonist faces several assassination attempts and a life threatening encounter in Australia’s Outback. His dog, Daisy is reintroduced along with characters from previous stories. The reader will be reminded of our country’s history through walks on Boston’s Freedom Trail. The Molina Curse provides tantalizing moments “Down Under”, as well as aboard a cruise ship from Sydney to New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and Hawaii. A love affair is tested and Charles Stone’s life is in peril throughout until the curse is lifted by complying with mysterious forces within the Vatican. Stone’s final act of involvement with the dark side of the Papacy is one of the most bizarre in all works of fiction. Unfortunately The Molina Curse ends on a sad tragic note.’

The Molina Curse is the fifth novel in Charles L. Fields’ Charles Stone series. It is not ideal when you choose a book off the shelf, and it happens to be the sequel to some book, especially if it is as far as five. Unfortunately, that is exactly what I did, falling for the global and historical elements in the publisher’s write-up without paying attention to the fact that it was the fifth in a series.

Nevertheless, I can assure you, that this could pretty much be a stand-alone and I enjoyed the challenge of imagining a prologue, which I believe isn’t too difficult. Coming to the plot, Charles Stone, an advocate who has had several adventures across the world in the past, is finally beginning to put it all behind him and concentrating on his love affair with Janice – with whom he has planned a trip to Australia and New Zealand. But, he lures trouble again – with Charles having a role in Frank Molina’s assassination, the latter’s associates are desperate for revenge and chase him to ensure that his trip Down Under would be his last.

As a history enthusiast, I loved conversations during the walk in Boston’s Freedom Trail – highly informative, especially for a foreigner like myself. This book could also be intriguing for travellers – as the story goes across several picturesque locations in the world such as the Ayers Rock, Great Barrier Reef, and Tahiti among various others. And for those who’ve already read the series, you may enjoy Daisy’s return. The food lovers too, might enjoy the description of the various cuisines that is described in this book (unfortunately, I happen to be a vegetarian). The last, it had the thriller element too, with a good cat and mouse game between the deceased Frank Molina’s associates and Charles Stone.

The pace of the novel might be the only demotivating factor for those who are reading this as a stand-alone because till page 100, the story was going nowhere and was only concentrating on characters from the previous books. The other issue is not the story but the publisher’s write-up which effectively is a short summary of the whole story and if you plan to read this book, don’t read too much into that write-up.

From what I could understand, I guess there is still room for a sequel and it’d be interesting to see Charles Stone again.

For its thriller plot mixed with other diverse elements such as history / travel, I’d award this book a seven on ten.

Rating – 7/10

Have a nice day,

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