Charlotte, NC–December 26, 2014. “They’re coming,” says A.J. Louderback, sheriff of Jackson County, Texas. And he’s not the only public official warning of the growing threat of Mexican drug cartels. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have publicly expressed their concerns about these cartels expanding their reach into the U.S.
Set against this modern-day background of the growing power and brazenness of these cartels, the just-released novella Aztec Midnight explores the explosive combination of Mexican economic woes and American complicity in a gripping tale Kirkus Reviews says “zips right along from twist to twist, eventually arriving at a bloody finale.” Foreward Reviews writes that Aztec Midnight is “a suspenseful, driving thriller” that “amps up the suspense with well-crafted dialogue and a Mexican drug cartel subplot.”
North Carolina writer M.C. Tuggle based his story on his travels to Mexico, his encounter with the Mexican military, and interviews with the inhabitants of the Mexican village where he researched his story. Aztec Midnight is the fast-paced tale of Jonathan Barrrett, an American expert in pre-Columbian weapons, who journeys to Cuernavaca with his wife Susanna at the request of Eric Winwood, a high-ranking State Department official. Barrett’s mission is to find and rescue the sacred knife of Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl before the cartels can claim it. Locating the knife proves more challenging and dangerous than Dr. Barrett anticipated, and he and Susanna soon find themselves at the center of the cartels’ search. For Dr. Barrett and his wife to survive, he will be forced to apply his knowledge of ancient weapons in the face of an ancient power he never imagined.
Tito Perdue, the acclaimed author of Lee and Fields of Asphodel, calls Tuggle an “author who knows something about drug cartels, about the lure of artifacts (magic ones especially), and about the derring-do of academical people when pushed to the wall. Who knows how to write clearly and design a suspenseful plot.”
This novella is one hell of a roller coaster ride. It’s got just the right amount of suspense, well delivered, to make me want to get to the end as soon as possible. The dialogue is excellent, the plot flows in a natural manner. The story works. It just does.
It’s good enough to make its point, to make us understand the story and even emphasize with the situation. Of course, even though it’s not something most people would stumble themselves into, but it’s basically a story about how people react to certain “stressful” situations. Your back against the wall, what do you do? How far do you go?
It’s simple, but it’s also interesting.
A story about doing what has to be done, Aztec Midnight is certainly worth your time. You won’t regret it.