When drug cartels begin vandalizing ancient Aztec sites throughout Mexico in search of the sacred obsidian knife of Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl, the Mexican government reaches out to the U.S. State Department for assistance. Dr. Jon Barrett, an archeologist and pre-Columbian weapons expert, then journeys to Cuernavaca with his wife Susanna at the request of Eric Winwood, a high-ranking State Department official, to find and rescue the knife before the cartels can claim it.
Locating the knife proves more challenging and dangerous than Dr. Barrett anticipated, and he and Susanna soon find themselves at the center of the cartels’ search. For Dr. Barrett and his wife to survive, he will be forced to apply his knowledge of ancient weapons in the face of an ancient power he never imagined.
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“This fast-paced novella amps up the suspense with well-crafted dialogue and a Mexican drug cartel subplot. … M. C. Tuggle’s meticulous creation of a suspenseful, driving thriller makes Aztec Midnight very engaging.”
“Tuggle ably captures the spirit of Dan Brown novels and Indiana Jones–style adventure stories in this tale, as he surrounds his Aztec-treasure MacGuffin with just enough intrigue to keep readers engaged. The book’s brief length doesn’t hurt; it zips right along from twist to twist, eventually arriving at a bloody finale.”
“Filled to the brim with action and intrigue. Tuggle blends edge-of-your-seat scenarios with realistic and genuine dialogue.”
Kate Seabury, Manhattan with a twist
“Tuggle skillfully ends most his sections with hooks redolent of the weekly movie suspense serials that provided filler between Saturday matinee double features.”
Gordon Osmond, author of Slipping on Stardust.
“Packs a definite punch … it draws you in and keeps you interested.” Beth’s Book Reviews
“A good writer immerses the reader into a place he’s never been while driving tension to keep her/him turning the pages. M.C. Tuggle is that kind of writer. Aztec Midnight spins a thrilling tale of intrigue and excitement.”
Ben A. Sharpton, author of The Third Option
“Packed with action… The author may not realize he has created a power couple worthy of more adventures. The seemingly nerdy professor and his wife are courageous and smart; they deserve a series of their own. I’m looking forward to a sequel!”
Dr. Susan Gardner, professor of American Indian Literature and Film at UNC-Charlotte
“5 of 5 stars! This intriguing premise twists and turns throughout this fast-paced novella. Professor Barrett and his wife deal with politics, bureaucracies, gangsters, and magic … In short, this quick read is fun, exciting, and well worth your time.”
A.E. Stueve, author of The ABCs of Dinkology and Former.
“[Tuggle is] an author who knows something about drug cartels, about the lure of artifacts (magic ones especially), and about the derring-do of academical people when pushed to the wall. Who knows how to write clearly and design a suspenseful plot.”
Tito Perdue, author of Lee and Fields of Asphodel.
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From the author: During our last trip to Mexico, my wife and I decided not to play tourista and instead stay in a village for three weeks. The people were warm, hospitable, and eager to share their homes with me and my wife and daughter. But while traveling on Mexico-Acapulco Highway 95 on our way to the Xochicalco archaeological site, I saw an armed transport carrier full of masked armed soldiers.
Our guide warned me not to look at them. Naturally, I ignored his advice. The glares I received made me realize the tensions roiling under the surface of this beautiful land. When I asked the driver why these soldiers were patrolling a public road, he stiffened up and said, “Drugs.”
Mexico is a haunted and tragic country whose history is an inescapable and palpable presence. Its people know joy as well as suffering.
It’s not uncommon to see opulent and lush courtyards next door to desperate squalor.
The stories I heard from our hosts about the drug cartels exerted a grim but hypnotic fascination for me. By the end of our visit, I knew I had to write a book about this mysterious and tragic country.
Aztec Midnight is based on my interviews with the villagers whose story this really is, the Catholic priest and nuns who revealed to me the undercurrents of Mexican village life, and finally, to hours of background research on Mexican drug cartels and the militias who oppose them. I hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to the Mugs Coffee Shop Spec-Fic Critique Group.
Photos by Jessica Fields and Wikipedia