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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
A mysterious organization has contracted a group of couriers to transport six ancient artifacts to a remote site in the Arabian Desert. One of the couriers changes his mind at the last moment, however, and convinces his friend, Max Monahan, to take his place. So, the scene is set and Sands of Abu Jenga by P.K. Allen opens with our accident-prone hero Max fearing for his life as he rushes through the darkened passageways of a ship which is about to enter a violent storm. The crew, and most of the passengers it would seem, want him dead. It had started when he was showing off the artifact he was carrying to a fellow courier whom he was trying to impress. It was an ancient lamp and he had inadvertently released a genie that proceeded to kill two crew members and terrify the rest of those on board. Max was not a popular passenger, but he survived the sea voyage and he, along with the remaining couriers, arrange to join an archaeological expedition which, coincidentally, is undertaking a dig at the very place where they are instructed to deliver their artifacts.
Max manages to strike up a friendship with fellow courier Molly, and Margo and Tom, two of the students on the expedition. Margo and Tom are an item and although Max is strongly attracted to Margo, he believes she is way out of his league. After several extraordinary adventures on the way to and at the Abu Jenga dig site, during which Max discovers more about the genie he has released, becomes acquainted with a witch and has several run-ins with evil spirits, he is bruised but nevertheless happy that his relationship with the delectable Margo is developing nicely. Things take a sinister turn, however, when the foursome is whisked into another dimension where they have to battle a powerful wizard and his henchmen to stop his ruthless organization releasing mayhem on our world. Can Max rise to the occasion, can he put his fear and clumsiness behind him, can he save the world and win the girl?
The moment you start reading Sands of Abu Jenga you are thrown into the midst of the action. P.K. Allen has penned a fast-paced narrative which will have you hurtling through stormy seas, running through crowded bazaars and toiling in the heat of the desert sun. He has created a group of young, likeable characters at the centre of the story and surrounded them with a host of evil individuals, both human and supernatural. There is plenty of action, running and frequent use of the F-word. His descriptions of the ladies involved in the plot are detailed and erotic and serve to keep the libido of our hero Max at boiling point. The book has a neatly-structured plot, is well-written and ends with a finale which left me with a smile on my face. Fans of a fast paced, spooky romp will revel in this book.