Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

If archaeologist Corrie never sees fellow archaeologist Ford again, it’ll still be too soon. Bitter rivals since Ford stole a career-changing fellowship from Cori and continued undermining her from there, the last thing they want is to work together. But this is an epic project: uncover the remains of mythical ancient figure Chimalli and the treasures believed buried with him.

And the stakes are too high for both. Ford needs the promised payout to pay for his mother’s cancer treatment, and Corrie has devoted her entire professional life studying and seeking Chimalli, who she believes is her ancestor.

Of course, they’re at each other’s throats right away and the story is heavily stacked against Ford. It’s hard early on to see how Ford could ever look like a decent guy. Right away, he behaves like a first-class jerk and undermines her at every chance. Plus, there’s the classic story of the white male using nepotism to get opportunities that others worked harder for and deserved more—super annoying to say the least. But don’t worry, Corrie has her idiot and not-so-nice moments as well.

Still, Raiders of the Lost Heart was a lot of fun—interesting characters, unique surroundings, and some mystery involved. I’m always a sucker for archaeology (my fantasy dream job in another life), and it was easy to picture the dig site deep in the Mexican jungle. Plus the descriptions were excellent without going on for too long.

I ended up loving the characters together—I mostly came around to Ford though I have some lingering animosity toward him. The side characters rounded out the book nicely, and the story comes full circle in a fascinating way.

If you’re into enemies-to-lovers, close proximity (in a jungle no less), mystery, and some steam, this book should be up your alley! I listed to the audio–excellent.

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Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Proximity, Isolated Location, Academic/Career Rivals, Mystery/Thriller, Archaeologists
Pair With: Rye Whiskey. I’ve never had it, but it’s the drink of choice in this book. Here are some ideas for rye cocktails.