Desert Isle Keeper
No Living Soul
All it took was four magic words – mystery set in Egypt – for me to jump all over No Living Soul. It didn’t matter that it’s the ninth in a series; I had to read it. I was initially a bit lost sorting out the characters and their relationships, but I was soon wrapped up in the mystery, and in the lives of the quirky, brilliant friends who are featured throughout the books. This is a light, fun mystery and one I highly recommend.
Lexi Carmichael, the lead in the series, is a twenty-five-year old self-proclaimed “geek” who formerly worked for the National Security Agency, and now works for a cyber-security company. Until recently, Lexi spent most of her time outside of work playing games and watching sci-fi on TV, and didn’t have her first real boyfriend until very recently. Although she’s still socially challenged, Lexi’s getting ready to move in with her boyfriend, Slash, who’s also a computer expert, but on such as scale that he’s deemed a national resource by the NSA and requires a constant FBI guard.
As the book opens, Lexi stops by her friend Elvis Zimmerman’s home only to discover a stranger holding a gun on Elvis. The man ties them both up and demands Elvis give him a package his father sent him. Since Elvis has been estranged from his father for years, Lexi finds this odd. Elvis insists he doesn’t have it, but before the stranger can carry out his threats, Slash and his FBI guards come in and rescue them. Elvis then reveals he does have the package, and needs help. In addition to a coded letter, the package contains a vial.
Elvis is also brilliant with computers and math, and has decoded the letter. His father is a biblical archaeologist specializing in Egyptology, and the letter reveals he’s found an ancient artifact that will that will make him as famous as Howard Carter. With help from his microbiologist colleague Gwen, Elvis has learned the vial contains ancient endospores that may be the root of an ancient Egyptian plague. After Elvis, Lexi, and Slash run some computer simulations, they discover the endospores could spread a pandemic with no cure. Elvis decides to head to Egypt to track down his father and locate the rest of the endospores. Lexi, Gwen, and Slash decide to go with him try and stop the endospores from being activated.
As a fan of all things Egyptian, I was delighted the remainder of the book takes place in Egypt. But even more than the Egyptian setting, I fell in love with Lexi; she’s a delightful character. The author has endowed her with enough quirky characteristics to keep her interesting and often funny. Lexi loves numbers and has adored solving puzzles since she was a little girl, and when she gets nervous she does things like recite Fermat’s Theorem to calm down. When Lexi discovers there’s an online fan community devoted to following her (because of an escapade in a previous book), her awkwardness in dealing with it is endearing.
Elvis is like the male equivalent of Lexi: brilliant, but socially awkward. In contrast, Slash is not only brilliant –– he’s also gorgeous, and romantic. I liked all the main characters, but found myself wishing I’d started with the first in the series so I would know their full backstory.
How much did I love this book? The minute I finished I hopped online and downloaded the first in the series, No One Lives Twice, to see how Lexi and her friends’ adventures began. As I write this review, I’m now up to the sixth book in the series, with no plans to stop until I’m all caught up.