Saturday, July 31, 2021

Tahoe Jade by Todd Borg

First Lines: October 5th, 1861. Buckland Pony Express Station Silver Springs, Nevada. "You the new kid?" the stock tender said to Jimmy Wilson as he helped Jimmy saddle up his mount.
 
Jade Jaso's life has been filled with tragedy lately. A firefighter, she was maimed in a warehouse fire from which she barely escaped, and shortly afterward her beloved father died in a fall. If that weren't enough, she's convinced that someone wants to kill her, and she asks private investigator Owen McKenna for help.

When a new  client's first words are "I'm not crazy!", it really doesn't make McKenna want to rush to take the case, but he does agree to meet with Jade. He finds Jade to be a strong, decidedly eccentric woman, and he agrees to look into her concerns (although he doesn't expect it to come to anything). But Jade's words turn eerily prophetic when she and her three horses disappear a few days later. 

When McKenna searches for clues, he finds a letter written by Abraham Lincoln in the papers of Jade's father. The letter contains a coded message mentioning some sort of treasure to the letter's recipient, Governor-Elect Leland Stanford. Further investigation uncovers the fact that Jade's father did talk about the letter to others. It's beginning to look like Jade has been kidnapped by a violent, unscrupulous man who will do anything it takes to uncover the treasure, and McKenna is running out of time to find her.

~

August isn't August without a new Owen McKenna mystery, and I'm beginning to think that Todd Borg is a genius when it comes to uncovering fascinating bits of Lake Tahoe history. Five years ago, my husband and I drove to Lake Tahoe and stayed for a few days for two reasons. One, I wanted to see if the place lived up to my memories of a visit there when I was ten, and two, to familiarize myself with the area because of Borg's books. Lake Tahoe lived up to my memories, and I enjoy being able to visualize McKenna's travels with his Great Dane, Spot, in his Jeep.

Tahoe Jade is a smorgasbord of historical delights. The Pony Express, the Lincoln letter, a Leland Stanford mini-exposé, and some facts about jade. Readers find out about Basque shepherds and their use of what are now called arborglyphs. And if that isn't enough, there's hidden treasure and a white-knuckle chase through the mountains as well. I love how Borg weaves all these things together seamlessly into a story that grabs me by the throat and won't let go.

I've loved this series from the outset, not just for the stories, but for the marvelous cast of characters. Owen McKenna is a former San Francisco homicide detective, and he's made friends with several local law enforcement officers. He's got a seriously cool sidekick in Spot, his Great Dane, who can do just about anything he puts his mind to "when he's awake." Spot's not going to spell H-E-L-P in the mashed potatoes, but he's saved the day more than once. Street Casey is a brilliant entomologist. Strong, intelligent, and with her own set of quirks, she completes McKenna, and Owen is happy to accept her and love her on her own terms--something that not many men would do.

Fantastic stories, wonderful characters... what's next? How about the occasional flash of humor that can have a reader laughing out loud? This may not mean anything to people who haven't had anything to do with terriers, but it struck a chord with me: "Amy says walking a terrier is like having a nuclear reactor on a leash. Energy about to explode in every direction." (I used to walk two wire-haired fox terriers every evening.) Or how about the new forensics person who "can find a human eyelash on a shaggy dog"? This occasional light touch is needed because Tahoe Jade is often deadly serious.

Tahoe Jade isn't just a treasure hunt. It isn't just about chasing a bad guy in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It's also about scientist Street Casey, former firefighter Jade Jaso, Sacramento archivist Brady Harper, and a woman who prefers to be called Vette. A band of women who are all survivors of abuse, and who are all determined to succeed on their own terms.
 
Read Tahoe Jade for the treasure. Read it for the chase and rescue. Whatever you do, read it. It's the latest entry in one of my absolute favorite series, and if you're a lover of wonderful characters, nail-biting action, strong mysteries, and a drop-dead gorgeous setting, you're going to become a fan, too. There's no time like the present to get started.

Tahoe Jade by Todd Borg
ISBN: 9781931296298
Thriller Press © 2021
Paperback, 350 pages

Private Investigator, #19 Owen McKenna mystery
Rating: A
Source: the author

12 comments:

  1. I do have to say the Lake Tahoe setting is appealing, Cathy. And just from your description, it sounds as though the characters are fully fleshed out and interesting. What strikes me, too, is that it's not just McKenna or perhaps one or another character; they're all fully developed. That takes skill.

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  2. I'm not familiar with this series, but you make it sound very intriguing, so perhaps I should become familiar with it. Thanks for a great review.

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    1. You're welcome, Dorothy. You know how there are certain books or series that you love that you wish everyone would read? Well, this is one of mine. I love it, and I think Todd Borg should be on all crime fiction lovers' bestseller lists.

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  3. Everything about this book (and this series!) sounds awesome. I'm so going to have to check these books out. :)

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    1. Oh, good! (Pardon me while I do a little Happy Dance.) I think you're going to love these books, Lark!

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  4. Oh, this sounds so interesting and fun. My library doesn't carry Borg's books, so I'll have to see about buying this one. The clincher was about the band of women characters. My kind of book. I'll write it down on that huge list. (sigh)

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  5. A new series to try! I do like the promise of adventure in this one. :)

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    1. I have a feeling that this is a series you're really going to like, Jen.

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  6. Like you, I've read almost all of the books in the series and am catching up. Tahoe Jade is on my list!

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