THE SMOKE HUNTER
Romancing The Jones
released OUT NOW! 448 pages | Paperback/ebook
Author Jacquelyn Benson
Classic adventure stories by the likes of H Rider Haggard and Edgar Wallace are problematic to say the least; nowadays the thrill of the tale tends to be spoiled by attitudes towards most people who are not white and/or male. The Smoke Hunter feels like an attempt to deliver those old-fashioned thrills in a more inclusive fashion.
A lot of this 1890s-set story feels very familiar. As suffragette rebel Eleanora Mallory heads into the Honduran jungle with rugged American Adam Bates, following a mysterious map, things feel rather Romancing The Stone. And Bates, who conceals a top-notch university education and expertise in Mayan history under that buff exterior, has more than a whiff of Indiana Jones about him.
The PC side of things isn’t over-laboured, and the adventure is great fun, with such genre staples as lethal obstacles to overcome, bloodthirsty animals, and an entertainingly hostile environment (entertaining for the readers, that is). The main problem is, it’s more Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull than Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Enjoyable enough, but not captivating. Miriam McDonald
Jacquelyn Benson began writing her first novel aged 15, but kept abandoning books a few chapters in.