Review: Uncharted by Anna Hackett

Review: Uncharted by Anna HackettUncharted (Treasure Hunter Security #2) by Anna Hackett
Formats available: ebook
Series: Treasure Hunter Security #2
Pages: 148
on June 5th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo

One former Navy SEAL. One adventurous photographer. One lost jungle temple.
Former Navy SEAL Callum Ward has one motto—live life to the fullest. He saw the worst of war and lost good friends, but now he works for Treasure Hunter Security. When he’s not providing security for archeological digs and invaluable museum exhibits, or off on daring treasure hunts, he’s rock climbing, racing, or skiing. Nothing—and no one—has ever tempted him to slow down…until on an expedition into the Cambodian jungle, he has to work with one opinionated, prickly photographer, Dani Navarro. But soon their straight-forward trek to find a lost temple turns deadly, and Cal and Dani find themselves under attack from a dangerous black-market antiquities ring prepared to kill.
Dani Navarro lives for her photography. For years, it’s been her escape from her family and their frivolous lifestyle, affairs, and dramas. With her camera in hand, she travels the world, capturing other people’s moments and avoiding messy entanglements. At first, she thinks Cal Ward is no different from all the other men she’s known, but as their expedition turns into a hazardous dash through uncharted jungle, she uncovers a tough, intelligent, and sexy protector. Together, they must outwit their pursuers and find not only a lost temple…but a priceless, powerful artifact.

My Review:

uncharted drake and elena paintOn the one hand, the fact that this second entry in Anna Hackett’s Treasure Hunter Security series shares its title with the fantastic video game series keeps driving me a bit batty. On that other hand, the heroes of Uncharted the video game, Nathan Drake and his eventual wife Elena (pictured at left), would fit right in with the gang at Treasure Hunter Security. Just like our heroes in this book, Nathan is a treasure hunter, and his wife Elena is a photographer. They met in the first game when Nathan Drake hacks through a jungle while Elena films him on his quest to find the grave of his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake.

In Uncharted the book, Callum Ward of Treasure Hunter Security is hired to guide an archaeological expedition into the jungles of Cambodia. The expedition is looking for a lost sacred temple, and photographer Daniela Navarro is along to document their find.

Based on the description of the temple, there shouldn’t be anything on this trip to interest the entirely mercenary, and completely deadly, interests of the Silk Road syndicate that interfered with Declan and Layne’s dig in Egypt (See Undiscovered for deets). But when Silk Road agents are spotted in the area, Callum is forced to call for backup, and to figure out exactly what it is that those keen archaeologists neglected to tell him.

One of the rocks and stones that they are hoping to find is actually a giant pearl. Something more than big and precious enough to bring Silk Road into the jungle. Or anywhere else.

It’s up to Callum to keep them all alive and out of Silk Road’s evil clutches until his cavalry comes over the very overgrown hill. And to keep Daniela safe – even though she pushes away his help at every turn – until she finally pulls him into her heart.

undiscovered by anna hackettEscape Rating A-: It feels like the series is hitting its stride with this book. As much as I enjoyed Undiscovered, it also felt a bit like a contemporary re-working of Among Galactic Ruins and At Star’s End. I loved both of those books, but the third time wasn’t quite the charm.

The story in Uncharted, in spite of its similarity to the video game series, is different from its predecessors in Hackett’s previous series. More than anything, it reminds me of Romancing the Stone, or the Indiana Jones movies. The hero may save the day, but the heroine more than holds her own.

I am also incredibly happy to say that in spite of the way things looked in Undiscovered, we don’t appear to be heading for a repeat of Shaw from the Hell Squad series, and his romance with squadmate Claudia. In Treasure Hunter Security, it looks very much like Logan’s romance is not going to be with his partner Morgan, because his book is next and she isn’t the heroine. Hopefully that also means that she will get a story of her own.

But about Dani and Callum – they are a very interesting couple. As in most romances, there has to be a stumbling block or two on the road to happily ever after. In this particular case, both parties are carrying their stumbling blocks right along with them, as some very heavy baggage. Neither of them is interested in a relationship, which certainly hasn’t stopped Callum from a whole lot of one- or two-night stands. But they come at their commitment-phobia from different angles.

Callum lost his best friend while in the SEALs. Ever since Marty died, Callum has been trying to live for both of them. But he’s using his high-adrenaline adventures to outrun his own fear of caring and possibly losing again. It’s easy to see where Callum is coming from, and that he has to eventually stop and feel what he really feels.

Dani’s case is less clear cut. There are lots of hints dropped, but the picture never comes into complete focus, pun completely intended. Her family seems to be wealthy, and she sees them all as a bunch of fake users. There was no love there, and no acceptance for Dani’s need to be something other than a partygirl famous for being famous. And I’m interpreting a bit of this because she isn’t quite clear. But the result is that Dani has seen too many fake relationships and false protestations of love to believe that the real thing exists – at least for her.

Being thrown into life-threatening danger together has both Dani and Callum re-thinking all their previous protestations that they either aren’t interested in or aren’t capable of falling in love. Because they have.

And I really, really want to see sister Darcy’s eventual romance with the uptight FBI agent that drives her so crazy. I think that one, when it finally comes, is going to be really awesome.