Book Review: Blue Fire by Katherine Prairie

Blue Fire
An Alex Graham Novel #2
Katherine Prairie
Stonedrift Press, July 2018
ISBN 978-0-9949377-5-9
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Tanzanite, a rare blue gem born in fire and revealed by lightning, is found only in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. But now the death of a gem smuggler points to another possibility. A South American mine owned by Tabitha Metals may hold the find of a century. But why is it kept hidden from the world? Geologist Brian Graham can draw only one conclusion: the mine’s untraceable wealth is used to fund terrorism. And he must reveal the truth.

Brian heads to Colombia to check out mines there while his geologist daughter Alex and Tanzanian miner Mosi Ongeti start in Brazil. But their daring plan ends with a gunshot, and they are now pursued by the henchmen of a sinister, powerful arms dealer.

In a high-stakes race across two continents, Alex fights to expose the mine before the man behind Tabitha Metals can stop her.

Not that I have jewels dripping off of me but, if I did, I’d have colorful gems because I find most diamonds and the like pretty boring. I used to wear a lot of rings and had some that were really beautiful—garnets, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, aquamarine, topaz, etc.—and, yes, tanzanite. When I read the description of Ms. Prairie‘s latest book, I was immediately drawn to it.

Hunting for beautiful gems is inevitably going to be an exotic journey and, in this case, Brazil and Tanzania fit the bill. The locations alone made me want to be right there along with the characters and, naturally with this being a mystery, mining for gems is only a piece of the story. Could it be true that a previously undiscovered deposit has been found and, if so, why the secrecy? Now, granted, an abundant supply can drive prices down but that doesn’t seem to be an adequate reason, especially since a man has been killed.

Alex has to get her wounded friend, Mosi, back to Africa where her geologist father is (or is he?) but they’ll have to outrun and outwit some very bad people who have other plans in mind. Mosi needs medical attention right away and Dr. Eric Keenan, Alex’s kinda-sorta boyfriend, steps in, mainly because Eric is a very nice guy and he cares for Alex. Their relationship is growing organically and there is nothing out of place about it, much to my pleasure.

Alex really is no sleuth but she’s a strongminded, intelligent woman who can put two and two together. Sometimes, that gets her in trouble and that’s certainly true this time. Running from highly motivated criminals is bad enough; will she be able to turn the tables on them?

Once again, Katherine Prairie ensnared me with her appealing, vividly drawn characters and a plot that kept me racing around the world. What seems to start out as a hunt for a gem deposit turns into something much darker and I enjoyed every minute of this intense ride.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2018.

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