Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell — suspense with a little bit of romance. Lowell has always done a good job of integrating research into geology, gemology, archaeology, etc. into her work. This book is set in 2012 and centers around Mayan archaeology, history, and culture. The main character is a museum curator and archaeologist specializing in the area, and the plot revolves around mysterious, priceless artifacts in the run up to the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar.
As a mystery it was merely okay — the Big Bad and Big Confrontation were predictable — but I appreciated the plot. Lowell used some standard romance mechanisms: the heroine describing herself via reflection, the hero finding admirable in the heroine some average characteristics that were described as absent in all other women, etc. At one point in an important scene, the hero began not knowing about an important gang (of sorts) but finished the scene by lecturing another character and sharing information about the gang based on his prior experience, which made me scratch my head. If he didn’t know who they were at the beginning of the conversation, how did he have that expertise less than 10 minutes later?
Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay. Loved the first book, liked the second book, bored by the third. Perhaps it was a bad idea to read them all in quick succession?
Next up: some urban fantasy?