Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 20, 2014)
Reviewed April 1, 2015
In 1950, explorer Sir Lyle Ashford wrote a famous letter to the Times of London in which he boasted of finding “…a bigger cache of treasures in Egypt than existed in King Tut’s tomb.” Two problems; Ashford was known to lie about sites and secondly, after that dispatch, no one ever heard from him again.
Over sixty years later, archeologist Gavin Beechman uncovers the entrance to an unknown burial crypt high above the Valley of the Kings. In the deepest chamber, Gavin makes a discovery that electrifies the archeological community, the body of Sir Lyle. What he does not find are any artifacts, critically important clues to the nature of the tomb. He feels compelled to track them down, a hunt that will take him on a journey from Egypt to the quiet, country lanes of the United Kingdom.
If you enjoy books that blend the mystery of archaeology with a good, old-fashioned murder mystery, set in Egypt and England, then you might enjoy reading Sir Lyle’s Dig. Mr. Lefkowitz’s attention to detail, whether it be in describing a dig scene, or the treasures in a members-only explorer’s club, make you feel like you’re with Gavin Beechman. As Gavin finds himself pushed to solve the mystery of Sir Lyle’s murder, and hopes to find artifacts from the tomb, he’s also confronted with his memories of a painful breakup.
The pace of this mystery unfolds slowly, and while the attention to archaeological detail is great, there are areas where the story could be tightened. Mr. Lefkowitz spends time describing aspects of Gavin’s day or travel, that don’t move the story along. The author also has a fondness for exclamation points. Emotional scenes are better conveyed through restructuring the sentences and providing more details, such as, “Gavin’s jaw line tightened.” This shows the reader that Gavin might be angry, but the author uses exclamation points to show anger, excitement, or frustration. Describing emotional scenes isn’t always an easy task, but is preferable to the reader being abruptly stopped by exclamation points. The copy given to KMW for review needed line editing. After communicating with Mr. Lefkowitz about this, he stated that he corrected the errors. Any copies after March are error-free (or close — no one is perfect.)
Overall, this book is interesting and rich with details about archaeology, but not in a way that stifles the story. It’s fun to read about far-away places, and the author did a good job making me feel the heat of the desert sun, during long hours of digging. Again, this is where his attention to detail shines.
About the author:
Sheldon Lefkowitz resides in Southern California with his wife Vicki, daughter Hillary and their Golden Retriever Sam. He was the author of a bi-monthly column relating his experiences as a Stay-At-Home Dad. Some of those pieces appear in his first book, A Creative Collection; Stories, Tales and Essays.
Sheldon’s first novel, Just Live a Little, features two elderly sisters whose zest for life touches others in their senior community and spices up their lives. These two love to play on swings!
Sir Lyle’s Dig is Sheldon’s second full-length novel and earned a Quarter Finalist spot in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition.
You can reach the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
Note: The author provided a free review copy.