VIANVI PODCAST BOOK REVIEW #21 of 2017 by Viga Boland, author and book reviewer


If you’ve ever fancied being part of an archeological dig but know that reality is not in your future, you will very much enjoy getting stuck into Steve Freeman’s 9th book in the Blackwell Files series:  Alton Blackwell is back with his partner, Mallory and their team as they dig into clues for who did what in his latest thriller, “The Dig”.  What a terrific read while you explore what archeologists explore…and a whole lot more.

My introduction to the work of Steve Freeman came with reading and reviewing two books written under his pen name, Malcolm Pierce: “Erased” and “Blood Passage”. This pair of books turned me into an ardent fan of Freeman’s writing. And now, after reading “The Dig”, I’m hungry for more in his Blackwell Files series and delighted to see there are so many to choose from. You can scan that collection on Freeman’s website at

I’ve already picked out one I want to read, another thriller titled “The Devil’s Due”. Why that one? Because one of the characters in “The Dig”, a young girl named Mastana, has apparently recently been rescued from a cult and it’s Mastana’s story that is told in “The Devil’s Due.” How clever of Freeman to subtly interest readers in his other books while enjoying the one they are reading. It was the reference to Mastana’s story that sent me searching for Freeman’s other books. What a find…almost as good as what Alton Blackwell and his associates find when they are sent to assist in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of one archeologist, and the inexplicable deaths of two of his fellow archeologists in “The Dig”.

When a tremblor in Guadalajara reveals an ancient chamber filled with priceless relics beneath a basilica, one which no-one knew existed, archeologists flock to the site. But now, after the disappearance and the deaths, diggers are nervous. Who would kill archeologists engaged in such important work as uncovering priceless relics? More importantly, why? Do the deaths and disappearance have anything to do with the relics? Professional jealousies? Theft?  Or perhaps it’s drug cartel related? The clues send the investigators and readers trudging warily down dimly-lit earthy tunnels, plunging into chilly watery caves, and dining sumptuously on cruise ships where wealthy buyers outbid each other for ancient artifacts. And always, danger lurks behind every corner and tension mounts with every turn of the page.

“The Dig” will keep thriller sleuths constantly guessing, suspecting one person after another and only finding out who really is the killer near the end. That’s what great thriller writers do, and Steve Freeman is one of the best at his craft. He is also exceptional at description that creates scenes alive with sensuous detail, sensuous in the context of being able to feel, touch, smell what is being described. When Alton and a Latin police-woman go deep cavern diving looking for clues, and nearly drown in the process when their guide-wire back to where they entered the water is cut, as the supply of air in their oxygen tanks gets lower and lower with each wrong turn, readers will feel as if they too are fighting for their lives. We can almost taste that first life-saving gulp of fresh air!

To reveal any more of the plot line in this gripping thriller would be to spoil your enjoyment of this book. So the only thing left for you to do is get yourself a copy of “The Dig” and dig in!

©Viga Boland, author and book reviewer

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