Cari Mora, by Thomas Harris.
One of Cari’s many low-paid positions is as caretaker for a notorious bayside house formerly owned by the late drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar; there have long been rumours that this is where Escobar hid $25,000,000 in gold bullion, and it is not long before Pablo’s former henchmen turn up to try to find the loot – with the aid of Cari, for she knows the house and its environs better than anyone: it’s a chance for her to make enough money in one hit (maybe) to enable her to make her family’s future secure. Maybe.
True to form, things go fatally wrong in a big way, and Cari finds herself caught between Escobar’s former lieutenants and a frightening new enemy – Hans-Peter Schneider, a German from Paraguay also interested in the gold, but principally in her, and how much money he could make if he could sell her to sadists rich enough to pay whatever he asked, for Hans-Peter caters for all tastes in ‘matchmaking’ – the baser, the better. I have to say that Herr Schneider is the most black-and-white villain I’ve come across lately; Mr Harris doesn’t waste time analysing to any great degree Hans-Peter’s sheer wickedness. He is just a supremely evil dude, and it goes without saying that the showdown between good and evil at the end of the story is monumental – as it should be, but it would have been better if some of the characters were fleshed out sufficiently to make them more three-dimensional, and more real.
Having said that (thus revealing my nit-picking nature!), Cari Mora is still a great character, so resourceful and endearing that it would be great to meet her again: she sure packs a punch! FOUR STARS.