Best Cover Design for Romantic Suspense: Secrets of a Mayan Moon by Paty Jager

Caleb and Linda Pirtle is pleased to announce the winners of its Best Cover Design for Mystery Novels. The awards will be announced each day, and they will be given in the genres of International Thriller, Mystery, Conspiracy Thriller, Crime, Historical Crime, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Thriller, Detective, Spy Thriller, Crime Suspense, Hard-Boiled, Political Thriller, and Suspense. 

Winner of the Best Cover Design for a Paranormal Mystery Novel will be announced tomorrow.

















The Story:  What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

COVERCONTEST-BESTCOVERDEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Review by Chrissy Dionne: Doctor of Anthropology Isabella Mumphrey desperately needs funding if she’s going to continue her research at the university. When her mentor and trusted friend Virgil asks her to decipher an ancient tablet at a Mayan ruin, and get paid extremely well for it, she quickly agrees and flies off to Guatemala. She’s led a fairly lonely existence and thanks to her genius intelligence has never been able to form bonds with her peers so learned quickly to be self-reliant. As it turns out that’s a good thing because from the moment she steps out of the airport she’s accosted – and things only get stranger and more worrisome as the true reason for her trip to Guatemala comes to light.

Tino Kosta claims to be a jaguar tracker and jungle guide, but Isabella senses that there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s determined to see Isabella safely to the dig and then return his primary job as a DEA agent tracking drug traffickers. Something isn’t adding up about Isabella’s arrival in the jungle and the odd incidents that keep occurring have him more than a little concerned. Tino’s well aware that his lifestyle isn’t conducive to romance but Isabella snuck in under his radar and now he’s struggling to keep her safe while still doing his job.

Isabella’s extreme intelligence and tendency to be prepared for anything might be off-putting to most men but Tino finds her unique traits very appealing. While traveling through the jungle to reach the dig, Isabella forms an attachment to Tino and feels safe whenever he’s near. She fully expected to feel safe once she reached the dig but Virgil’s proprietary attitude when it comes to her makes her really uncomfortable. Fortunately Tino doesn’t just abandon her to return to his other duties; he takes it upon himself to see to her well-being… besides there’s something worrisome about the dig and its area. The drug traffickers are close and he’s sure that somehow the two are connected. What neither Isabella nor Tino expect is to discover is exactly how complicated the whole situation is… or how deadly. It turns out that Isabella wasn’t needed to decipher anything; her purpose at the dig is to play a pivotal role in reenacting an ancient ceremony.

SECRETS OF A MAYAN MOON is the first title in what looks to be a promising series of Isabella Mumphrey stories. While Tino and Isabella are the main characters and a genuine pleasure to get to know there’s a host of other characters and situations that capture the imagination and keep the story humming along. I love that Tino and Isabella come from completely different backgrounds and don’t seem to have a whole lot in common yet they still mesh perfectly – and the interactions between them are positively smoldering.

Paty Jager blends the sultry feel of the jungle with the excitement of ancient discovery then throws in a little mystery along with a thrilling romance and the results are nothing short of amazing.

Review by L. Jenkins: I loved the jungle setting where this book takes place through most of the story. I felt the sticky humidity and envisioned the lush landscape. Isabella, naïve and trusting, is thrilled to have been called to a new archeological dig at the bequest of her long-time mentor. When she is attacked shortly after her arrival, her adventure gets off to a frightening and inexplicable start. Fortunately, her guide Tino takes on the role of protector. Tino is actually a man of multiple disguises, and he is on a quest of his own. As the story unfolds, Isabella and Tino begin working together to untangle a web of lies.

Adrenalin-pumping adventure and danger are often present in this suspenseful and action-packed story. The attraction between Isabella and Tino deepens with each dangerous encounter they survive. I particularly liked that even though Isabella is naïve she most certainly is no shrinking violet. She is uncommonly intelligent and figures out solutions to problems in creative ways.

The conspiracy ultimately revealed stretched my capacity to suspend disbelief, but I swallowed the possibility simply because I had so much fun being carried along for the ride. If you enjoy resourceful characters caught up in thrilling escapades in exotic locales then you most certainly should enjoy this novel.


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