three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
23-July-Aug-2006
user_rating: 
0

A-NightOfTheJaguarThese days Miami cop Jimmy Paz (featured in Tropic of Night and Valley of Bones) spends much of his time basting ribs in his Cuban restaurant. That is, until Cuban-American businessmen with a stake in developing a Colombian rainforest begin turning up dead. Evidence points to a rail-thin South American shaman from the prospected land as the suspect. Other clues, however, cast the perp as a 450-pound animal with huge claws. The mystifying, and shredded, victims inspire Jimmy to leave retirement behind and take the case.
William Morrow. 384 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 0060577681

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Gruber’s Jimmy Paz trilogy walks a fine line between the worlds of horror and crime fiction, making good use of both well-worn, formulaic elements… and elements so original … that his novels are elevated to the level of literature." Dorman T. Shindler

Oregonian 4 of 5 Stars
"Unlike most writers in this genre, Gruber gives more to ponder than intriguing clues to the identity and motive of the killer—both of which, when they arrive, are as satisfying as they are unthinkable—and he does it with prose that is efficient yet rich and hip." Larry Brooks

Seattle Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The book is chock-full of pungent material—too much, maybe. … This aside, Night of the Jaguar remains that rarest of creatures: superior entertainment that raises sincere, provocative questions of intellect and faith." Adam Woog

Entertainment Weekly 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Almost no one matches [Gruber’s] talent for blending the supernatural with gritty street grunge … but Jaguar feels rushed and only halfway satisfying." Daniel Fierman

Critical Summary

Critics raved about the first two novels in the Jimmy Paz trilogy; Night of the Jaguar is not as universally loved because of hard-to-stomach coincidences and strained plausibility. No matter; author Michael Gruber possesses a flair for words and setting that will carry any reader through this heated tale. He makes great use of his meticulous research by delving deep into Cuban Santeria rituals, the repercussions of environmental clear-cutting, and the taxonomy of fig wasps (perhaps too much so), while taking witty swipes at stoned environmentalists.

The First in the Series

Tropic of Night (2003): Jimmy Paz investigates a series of murders that may have something to do with sorcery, shamanism, an anthropologist who stages her own death, and the jealousies of an African-American poet.