Reviews of the Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries by Mary Anna Evans
What People Are Saying About Burials
"Evans’s enjoyable 10th Faye Longchamp mystery....sensitively explores the issue of how to balance respecting cultural heritage and gaining knowledge of the past through scientific research. --Publishers Weekly
"Evans’ signature archaeological lore adds even more interest to this tale of love, hate, and greed.--Kirkus Reviews
"This is the 10th Faye Longchamps mystery, and arguably the best one yet. While we have learned more about Joe in the previous few books, here we get to see him where he was raised, with his father, and memories of his mother. And we all know that you may be able to go home, but it is never the same...the past is NOT what it seems to have been and now comes back to haunt the present. The book offers a wealth of archaeological information, as well as excellent character studies, Mary Anna obviously did her research! Add in a mystery with many twists and turns, and you have a book you can't put down." --Nicole Henke, BlessTheirHeartsMom.com
What People Are Saying About Isolation
"Well-drawn characters and setting, and historical andarchaeological detail, add to the absorbing story." --Booklist
"The books in this series are typically stellar examples of mysteries that combine events of the past with events in the present, and those that affect Faye personally are among the best of the lot. Isolation is most definitively an example of this....With many poignant moments, a good deal of suspenseful action, and an overall captivating history as backstory, this is one of the best mysteries of the year." --Lance Wright, Mysterious Reviews
"Archeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth entertains an array of visitors at her home on Joyeuse Island, some more welcome than others, in Evans’s meaty ninth mystery set on Florida’s Gulf coast....Evans skillfully uses excerpts from the fictional oral history of Cally Stanton, recorded by the Federal Writers’ Project in 1935, to dramatize the past. --Publishers Weekly
A mystery from the past provides just the therapy a grieving mother needs....Faye, who feels compelled to look for answers, puts her whole family in grave danger, but what she finds turns out to be her salvation. A worthwhile addition to Faye’s long-running series (Rituals, 2013, etc.) that weaves history, mystery, and psychology into a satisfying tale of greed and passion."--Kirkus Reviews
"Evans’s work has always been intelligent and literary, but she seems bolder in Isolation, writing in a style more conspicuously literary. One of the opening chapters is written from the point of view of fish! Yet, it isn’t the fish that give this book its literary quality; rather, it’s the rich language and evocative tone. Evans writes so perceptively and with such careful diction that the reader can feel Faye’s distress. Take, for example, this passage: “[Faye’s] frenetic busyness was an antidote for the times the voice tiptoed into ground that shook beneath her feet. It crept into dangerous territory and then beckoned her to follow. It asked her to believe that she was to blame for the baby’s death, for the mute suffering in Joe’s eyes, for every tear Michael shed.” Perhaps these lines owe to the M.F.A. Mary Anna Evans just earned from Rutgers University. Or they could just signal the natural evolution of her style. Regardless, they work, and so do others like them—thus making Isolation stand out in a very fine series." --Claire Matturo, Southern Literary Review
What People Are Saying About Rituals
"A suspenseful crime story with just a hint of something otherworldly.". --David Pitt, Booklist
"The books in this exceptionally fine series have typically merged historical events with a fictional story, and this is one of the better examples." --Lance Wright, Mysterious Reviews
"A superior puzzle plot...Evans pulls everything together nicely in the end." --Publishers Weekly
"...a well-plotted and enjoyable mystery..."--Kirkus Reviews
"Don't miss this one." --Mary Ann Smyth, Bookloons
"Evans is able to draw the reader in and make Rosebower and its inhabitants feel real. They are fascinating, charming and quirky. The story, written from the view-point of two different people, gives a diverse view of events while being easy to follow and highly enjoyable."--Fran Byram, Portland Book Review
"This is one to put on your wish list now." --Broadway World *
What People Are Saying About Plunder
"...a major contemporary Southern writer..."--Philip Jason, Southern Literary Review
"[Faye Longchamp is] such a memorable character in crime fiction that it's hard as a reader to let go. Here's but one of the many ways the author describes her; it may be an off-handed comment, but a memorable one nonetheless: "Faye was capable of pulling facts out of the air and making a decision so fast that she almost felt careless later, as if she should have agonized more over the problem and its solution." She really is quite remarkable."--Lance Wright, Mysterious Reviews
"The plot will pull you in and not let go until there are no more pages to turn. Another winner."--Mary Ann Smyth, BookLoons
"... a story taken straight from the headlines...This is a great book in a great series...."--Mystery, Etc. *
What People Are Saying About Strangers
"Evans explores themes of protection, love, and loss in her absorbing sixth Faye Longchamp mystery....Compelling extracts from a 16th-century Spanish priest's manuscript diary that Faye begins translating lend historical ballast."--Publishers Weekly
"Evans's excellent series continues to combine solid mysteries and satisfying historical detail."--Kirkus Reviews
"This contemporary mystery is drenched with Florida history and with gothic elements that should appeal to a broad range of readers."--Booklist
"Mary Anna Evans writes with a mixture of scientific knowledge, including modern archaeological techniques. But, even more importantly, she can tug our heartstrings."--Midwest Book Review
"Evans has managed to have her characters change as time progresses while still leaving them true to the series. I find that especially true with the way she has allowed first Magda, and now Faye to become mothers while continuing their work. Too often when parenthood occurs in a series, the characters become so obsessed with their pregnancies and role as a parent that they become unrecognizable to their readers. The strength of this series is the author’s ability to have Faye uncover a long forgotten mystery that is entwined with a modern day crime. This draws the reader into the history as well as the crime at hand. This time Evans uses an old journal written by a Spanish Priest to tell the story of the Spanish coming to St. Augustine. Excerpts of the journal are interspersed with the main storyline shifting readers from modern day to the 1500s. The technique works quite well in this book. This is a series history buffs will surely want to check out. Because the series shifts from site to site with each book, readers do not have to have read any of the previous books to enjoy Strangers."--Bestsellersworld.com, Caryn St. Clair
"Mary Anna Evans’s sixth Faye Longchamp novel continues her string of elegant mysteries that features one of contemporary fiction’s most appealing heroines. The author also continues to seek out and to describe settings and locations that would whet the excavating appetite of any practicing or armchair archaeologist. Mary Anna Evans then commences to weave an almost mystical tapestry of mystery throughout her novel....The author evokes an almost dreamy atmosphere of ancient evil and sinister decadence as Faye struggles with translating Father Domingo’s journal, archaeological finds that may finally point to the murderer of the Jazz Age starlet, and the very real and present danger posed to all within the walls of Dunkirk Manor by the kidnaper of Glynis—including Joe and Faye’s unborn baby! Mary Anna Evans skillfully weaves these three story lines together and at the same time keeps the reader fully aware that Faye is facing these dangers and challenges all within days of giving birth! Four trowels for Faye Longchamp’s sixth adventure!--Bill Gresens, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center
What People are Saying About Floodgates
"...Evans has written a fascinating tale linking the history of New Orleans’ levee system to the present and weaving into the story aspects of the city’s widely diverse cultures. Voodoo, Native American spirituality, greed, and corruption all play roles in what is easily the best installment yet in a too-little-known series."-- Starred Booklist review
"Mary Anna Evans gets New Orleans: the tainted light, the murk and the shadows, and the sweet and sad echoes, and the bloody dramas that reveal a city's eternal longing for what's been lost and its never-ending hopes for redemption."--David Fulmer, author of Shamus winner Chasing the Devil's Tail
"Post-Katrina New Orleans hides many tragic secrets, including one that leads to murder....Evans's fifth (Findings, 2008, etc.) is an exciting brew of mystery and romance with a touch of New Orleans charm."--Kirkus Review
"The latest Faye Longchamp archeological mystery is an engaging whodunit that ties a historical journal to a modern day murder. The story line is character driven by the lead couple and a super support cast....Fans of the series will enjoy Faye’s newest escapades."--The Mystery Gazette
What People are Saying About FINDINGS
Library Journal (Starred review)--"This is a series that deserves more attention than it garners.
Kirkus--"…a charming mixture of history, mystery and romance."
Publishers Weekly--"in Evans's fine fourth archaeological mystery...the story settles into a comfortable pace that allows the reader to savor the characters."
Booklist--"Evans is completely in control of what she wants us to see, hear, and feel…Fascinating."
The Mystery Gazette--"Faye Longchamp’s fourth archeological mystery is a terrific combining of Florida history with a whodunit and a bit of romance. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as Faye begins the arduous digging that she relishes. As always she makes the tale; in this case she must put aside her grief to honor her mentor as he would expect her to finish the excavation. Readers will appreciate her efforts as an amateur sleuth, a potential victim, and a professional archeologist who relishes the past but mourns her loss while taking care of business."
Book Browse--"A few murders, valuable gemstones, a love triangle and insights into life in the Confederate South during the Civil War coupled with Evans intelligent writing made for an irresistible storyline."
Kind Words for EFFIGIES
"We mystery lovers who've enjoyed Artifacts and then decided that Relics was even better may not believe this, but Ms. Evans has done it again, and Effigies is the best one yet. Again, she makes a lesson in our past a fascinating read."--Tony Hillerman, recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award, and the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award, among many other honors.
"In all three of Faye Longchamp's adventures Mary Anna Evans has given us insights into little known aspects of America ’s past. As an archeological tour alone the book would be worth reading, but it’s the fascinating and complex characters that give the story life and vibrancy."--Rhys Bowen, winner of the Anthony, Agatha, Herodotus, and Bruce Alexander Memorial Awards, among many other honors.
Book Sense, the national association for independent booksellers, has recommended Effigies to their readers as a Book Sense Notable Book.
Publishers Weekly--"Intriguing...Though Evans has been compared to Tony Hillerman, her sympathetic characters and fascinating archeological lore add up to a style all her own."
Kirkus--"A captivating combination of archeology, Native-American tales, romance and detection. A must-read."
Library Journal--""a thought-provoking tale about people trying to live together."
Booklist--"Evans adds an extra layer of substance to her series by drawing readers into the fascinating history of ancient American civilizations."—Barbara Bibel
Affaire de Coeur--"This was a really entertaining novel with an interesting concept, strong storyline and well developed characters. This was the third in the series of Faye Longchamp mysteries, and Evans made this novel a stand along without any type of confusion for the new reader. Evans has a winner with this novel."--Inez Daylong
Reader Views--"Effigies" has it all. Mary Anna Evans manages to incorporate romance, archeological information, Native American history, and issues with racial prejudice in to her mystery...At the end of the book, the author has a section that discusses aspects of her story that are actually true. This made "Effigies" much more enjoyable because as she slips the well-researched information into her story, she also slips this knowledge into our minds... "Effigies" is a story that should not be missed. I really enjoyed how well the characters are developed. It is really easy to visualize them. The descriptions of the surrounding area are vivid. I also enjoyed the Indian folklore stories that area put in between some of the chapters. It enriched my experience as a reader. I felt more in touch with the Choctaw tribe. The twists and turns of the plot kept me on the edge of my seat guessing. This story is third in the Faye Longchamp archaeological series."
"The archeology combined with Native-American lore enhances a fun romantic amateur sleuth thriller...The story line is action-packed even before the corpse is found as the audience will feel the enthusiasm of the team as they uncover their findings. The whodunit is delightfully disguised so that like the sheriff and the archeologist, readers will struggle to solve it. This is a superb murder mystery as the sum of the parts make for a fantastic whole."--Harriet Klausner
Quotes from Reviews of A MERRY BAND OF MURDERERS
Mysterious Reviews--...A Merry Band of Murderers is a winner....Three [stories] are particularly noteworthy: Mary Anna Evans' Land of the Flowers, Jeffrey Deaver's The Fan, and Val McDermid's Long Black Veil.... A Merry Band of Murderers is an admirable anthology of short stories by a skilled company of mystery authors.
Quotes from Reviews of RELICS
Booklist--Evans combines a fascinating plot and an appealing investigator. As in Artifacts (2003), the first in the series, the remote setting engenders an eerie sense of isolation and otherness that gives the story an extra dimension. Recommend this steadily improving series to female-sleuth fans or those who enjoy archaeology-based thrillers like Beverly Connor's Lindsay Chamberlain novels. -Barbara Bibel
Publishers Weekly--Evans' second archeological mystery is every bit as good as her debut, Artifacts (2003)....Faye makes a compelling heroine, and she's supported by an interesting array of suspects....Transcripts of Dr. Martinez's interviews scattered throughout the narrative provide important clues for the discerning reader.
School Library Journal--Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee mysteries, Relics will engage the imagination of readers.
Dallas Morning News--Faye Longchamp, girl archaeologist, is given an opportunity that many fledgling diggers would give their trowels for. She is put in charge of finding the origins of an ethnic group of people in the Alabama hills. But she's puzzled by the lack of work that has been done on site when she arrives with her assistant, Joe. As she looks into the scholarly aspects of the dig, she is distracted by the death of Carmen, the oral historian of the dig. Before she gets very far in investigating Carmen's demise, there's another unexplained death, this of a teenager from the Sujosa community. And soon, Faye is fighting for her own life against someone who doesn't want the secrets of the Sujosa revealed. A fascinating look at contemporary archaeology but also a twisted story of greed and its effects.--Laurie Trimble
Mystery News--Evans has taken Faye out of her familiar setting in Florida and that has helped develop new characteristics and new challenges for her. The sense of place is quite good and Faye feels a little intimidated by the differences between this area and her home. The story is told very well, keeping the reader's interest until the very end, where there is a great deal of suspense as the various strands of the story begin to come together. And finally Evans draws everything together in a very satisfying denouement. Evans first book was good. This one is even better. I look forward to what comes next.--Sally Fellows
My Shelf--Warning, I'm about to gush. Mary Anna Evans writes jewels - books you consider sampling just a bit of, then look up hours later, having completely lost yourself in her world. I loved her debut, Artifacts. The follow-up is just as good and maybe better, although I'm not sure that's possible - um, I did warn you about the gushing, didn't I? This is actually the sort of book for which an overview of the plot doesn't do it justice. Oh it has a genuinely complex and enjoyable story, with a number of varied subplots to keep things interesting. And the author does a fine job of pacing and tying it all together at the end. But what really captures you is the richness of the storytelling and the excellence of the writing in presenting the people and setting that make up the author's world. It makes me sorry for people who'll never read it because they think of it as "just a mystery" and they don't read genre fiction. This isn't "just" anything. It's a thoroughly enjoyable story about people and places and consequences in a world you inhabit as much as read, experiencing the events with everyone else. --Kim Malo
Book Review--The sequel to Artifacts, Relics is a terrific mystery that provides the audience with a wonderful look at Alabama through an archeological lens that glimpses back at the state’s history from a modern viewpoint. The story line is exciting from the moment Faye survives the deadly arson until the climax that will surprise the audience. Readers will enjoy this fine regional who-done-it while anticipating more appearances from Faye working in the field. --Harriet Klausner
Huntress Reviews--This novel is rich in historical details and written in a way that the plot is easily understood. Readers will have no trouble following along as this tale of mystery and intrigue guides them into a web of deceit. Author Mary Anna Evans has found her writing niche in the genre of Mysteries. BRAVA! I want more!
<font > Roundtable Reviews--RELICS is a roller-coaster ride of mystery, action, adventure, and deception. From the first page to the last, the reader will be on the edge of his seat! The ending is unexpected, but rewarding. The action is, frankly, non-stop and the writing is top-notch. Faye is Nancy Drew all grown up--the perfect heroine for a dynamic whodunit with a historical twist. Ms. Evans does a great job blending historical fact with fiction to create a clever plot and an intriguing mystery. RELICS is a great follow-up to ARTIFACTS. For fans of Vijaya Schwartz and Robin Cook, this book is a must-have. RELICS is the perfect combination of science fiction, history, mystery, and adventure. Good work, Ms. Evans--keep them coming!-Beverly Forehand
Fresh Fiction-- RELICS is a story about human nature and how people react to change and intrusion from the outside. It also shows what lengths people will go to keep their secrets. Evans does a wonderful job of pulling you into the story and not revealing any of the secrets until the end. -Jory Reedy
Bookloons--This is an intriguing story told well by an author who knows her subject. The tracing of a clan's ancestry, by using shards of pottery and words to old songs, is utterly fascinating. When woven into a murder mystery, this fan couldn't ask for anything more. Set in rural Alabama, this story introduces me to one of the many parts of the United States with which I am not familiar. Now I feel I am. I liked Faye very much....She is dedicated but full of compassion – always aware of her feelings for others. This does not stop her, however, from doing the right thing.....Relics is a really good book with lots of excitement and suspense to while away soft summer evenings.--Mary Ann Smyth
New Mystery Reader--Artifacts, Evan's first novel featuring archeologist Faye Longchamp, won the Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in mystery and suspense and, after reading her sequel, it's abundantly clear that Evans has kept to her course of distinction...This highly engaging tale of archeology and mystery makes for an all too swift read that fans of either will relish. Faye, a feisty and appealing heroine, adds great depth to this already entertaining tale, and helps move this fascinating plot along with an even greater speed. And though the Sujosa is a fictional group, Evans provides plenty of realistic archeological detail to make it all seem more than convincing, while simultaneously intellectually gripping. Definitely recommended, we eagerly are left waiting for the next.--Stephanie Padilla
Quotes from Reviews of ARTIFACTS
Publishers Weekly—“Few corners of Florida remain unmined for crime fiction and now, happily, there’s one less. The shifting little isles along the Florida Panhandle—hurricane-wracked bits of land filled with plenty of human history—serve as the effective backdrop for Evans’s debut, a tale of greed, archaeology, romance and murder….Readers should welcome this strong new sleuth.”
Booklist—“First-novelist Evans introduces a strong female sleuth in this extremely promising debut, and she makes excellent use of her archaeological subject matter, weaving past and present together in a multilayered, compelling plot.” Barbara Bibel
Florida Journal—“Richly atmospheric…steeped in the local landscape and history of the Gulf Coast region, Artifacts makes a gripping read with a surprising plot twist.” Simone Behr
The Islander—“an adventurous blend of mystery, history and social commentary…” Paul Berman and Paul Roat
South Florida Sun-Sentinel—“…an affecting atmospheric mystery filled with unusual and engaging characters.” Oline Cogdill
Midwest Book Review—“…a compelling read…” Christy Tillery French
The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC—“Mary Anna Evans’ first novel, a nifty mystery, skillfully combines a number of elements….The multilayered puzzles make for interesting reading.” Janice Shumake
Crescent Blues—“Artifacts is an extremely charming novel, and its central character—the mixed-ancestry Faye pluckily striving to survive despite the leviathan of the state and the scheming of a murder—proves enormously appealing….Read this book. You’ll enjoy it.” John Grant
Tampa Tribune—“It’s always fun to discover a new Florida voice, especially one who can bring to life the rich texture—the sand, the sea, the moss-draped live oaks, the seedy fishing shacks, the salted boat culture—of the state’s coast…the menace and the history are resolved in a hurricane of a finale.” Maryhelen Clague
Cozies, Capers, and Crimes—“…an excellent read. I couldn’t put it down.” Lonnie Cruse, author of Murder in Metropolis
Curled Up with a Good Book—“The distinctly Southern flavor of this book is amplified by an eclectic cast of characters, all quirky and memorable long after the last page has been turned…You will read this novel for its gripping plot and interesting cast, but you’ll savor it for its rich tutorial in slavery, coastal history and heritage. In fact this book is well worth reading a second time.” Karen P. Fowler
Aglaia—“…a tantalizing mystery.”
Murder on the Beach Bookstore Newsletter—“Finding a new author who is able to capture your attention, teach about the history of your home state, and help you follow the twists and turns of a murder is a great joy. In her debut novel, Mary Anna Evans does those things, and more.” Margaret Hamilton
I Love A Mystery—“Mary Anna Evans tells a good story.”
Reviewing the Evidence—“Author Evans infuses vibrant life to the history of the region and the nation through the circumstances of one family. Her illumination of the region and its special characteristics is excellent. The story lines move with vitality and good pace.” Carl Brookins
Kirkus Review—“A capably written debut…”
The Oak Ridger (Oak Ridge, Tennessee)—“…an intriguing mystery debut…”
Kate’s Mystery Books Newsletter—“…one of those first books you don’t want to miss…Artifacts is a refreshingly different Florida mystery, full of a sense of place nad history that is compelling.”
Heartland Reviews—“Artifacts is a fast-paced mystery, full of fascinating details…Ms. Evans has created a book full of unique characters. We give it five hearts.”