An Eye For Gold
Hardback edition 2000, St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York
Temporarily unemployed and conflicted over a rocky relationship, forensic geologist Em Hansen accepts an assignment aiding the FBI in a fraud investigation of a billion-dollar Nevada gold mine.
There are no guarantees on the frontier, and Em ends up smack in the middle of a minefield of intrigue where dead bodies, burning range fires, endangered rodents, and goldbricking employees are the order of the day. Her detecting skills are soon put to the test when the company’s "golden goose" geologist goes missing, and she discovers that what glitters at the Granville mine is of a hue more green than gold.
In order to get to the bottom of this complicated case, Em must throw caution to the wind and leap head first into the gaping portal where darkness rules-and the only sound is the terrified pounding of her own heart…
Jane Adams, amazon.com
"Forensic geologist Emily Hansen has come to Salt Lake City to see her lover and perhaps to marry him. But before she makes the decision, she is manipulated by FBI agent Tom Latimer into investigating a possibly fraudulent gold-mining operation on federal land. Another geologist is missing, and a scientist charged with assessing the environmental impact of proposed new drilling operations is dead in what appears to Em to be murder rather than an accident.
Author Sarah Andrews’s strength is her feeling for the arid landscape of Utah and Nevada. She is somewhat shakier in describing her heroine’s conflicted emotions about her problematic romantic attachment and the strong sense of autonomy that leads her to take Latimer’s bait and get involved in the case.
The physical landscape is brilliantly evoked, while the territory of the heart has more subtle boundaries that draw the reader in to a rather convoluted plot.
This is the sixth outing for Em, and Andrews’s fans will follow her anywhere, even through the detailed and somewhat tedious scientific and geological explanations about mining and a barely more compelling explication of gold’s timeless allure. The minor characters are more interesting than many of the central figures: a Paiute shaman, a wealthy woman who pilots her own plane, and the upright Mormon policeman whose proposal provokes Em’s exploration into her own inner world. Readers can expect to find out more about him in Em’s next outing".
"Following on the heels of the successful Bone Hunter (1999), this new mystery featuring forensic geologist Em Hansen is a disappointment, with too little plot and too much discourse on hard-rock mining.
A scattershot beginning introduces an overabundance of characters. Then, instead of getting to the meat of the story, the author focuses on Hansen hemming and hawing about whether she should help FBI agent Tom Latimer on a case concerning Granville Resources, a gold-mining company, or hang out with her handsome Mormon boyfriend, Ray. This dithering seems pretty coy once she’s fully involved in Tom’s investigation.
Hansen spends an awful lot of time crisscrossing deserts in planes and in her truck, looking into potential irregularities about permits, claims and other dealings between the suspect Granville Resources and the federal Bureau of Land Management. During most of this period, she’s kept in the dark about the nature of the case, as is the reader.
After 300 pages of random speculations and false starts, the plot finally begins to heat up, but at this point it’s too late. Much of the information about the gold market, the history of mining and refining techniques is fascinating, but taken all together, it’s oppressive and overwhelms the scrap of story line underneath.
In a closing author’s note, Andrews discusses some of the moral issues raised by mining and the depletion of our natural resources".
(Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Library Journal
"The FBI hires forensic geologist Em Hansen as a consultant for its investigation of a questionable gold-mining operation on federal land in Nevada. When someone offs the star witness, Em has her work cut out for her. A change in scenery from Bone Hunter but just as interesting".
(Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Em Hansen is plucky and smart. Like most geologists, she bounces from job to job, and now the FBI is trying to recruit her. She’s deeply in love with her boyfriend, Ray, a cop and a Mormon, but she finds living with his mom in Salt Lake City isn’t helping her figure out where she fits in his world and in hers.
Em’s emotional terrain is mapped over a tale of mining rights, environmental issues, betrayals, and the murder of key witnesses. But who is behind it? And what do they stand to gain, not just from the gold in the Nevada hills?
Andrews’ enthusiasm for geology and for flying occasionally bogs down in exposition, but the mystery is complicated and absorbing, and the reader does learn a great deal about geology (there’s a wonderful explication of plate tectonics using a peach).
There’s also some excellent girl bonding as Em makes a friend of Faye, a local pilot, among her other activities".
(Copyright (c) American Library Association. All rights reserved.)
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA
" Suspense every step of the way…twists and turns that [will] keep you turning the pages".