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Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite
The Clovis Dig by Teri Fink is a story about an archeological excavation in Washington state, in an orchard owned by Claire Courtney, a young single woman. She is struggling to survive financially with only the help of a Mexican employee, Carlos Barboza, and her seasonal migrant workers. By chance, they dig up some large arrowheads and, thinking that they may be valuable, she contacts Washington State University to send out a young associate professor, Joe Running, to investigate. The initial dig quickly snowballs into a major operation, disrupting Claire’s business and threatening her ability to secure the harvest that she needs to survive. Soon after the finds are announced in a Seattle newspaper, Spencer Grant from the University of Pennsylvania takes over the excavation from Joe, and that’s when the real conflict begins. Joe is honest and enthusiastic, and Spencer is manipulative and devious with a hidden agenda. Several graduate students from both universities get involved, as well as local Native American tribes that want to stop the excavation to protect their ancestors’ sacred grounds. The conflict quickly escalates into a showdown and lives, livelihoods, and careers hang in the balance.
I enjoyed reading The Clovis Dig very much, mostly because of the characters and the imaginative plot. I liked many of the characters and their descriptions were superb. The reader finds them familiar from personal experience; their motivations and reactions felt completely natural and believable. Once the battle lines are drawn, I couldn’t help rooting for Claire and Joe, while being afraid that greedy self-interest might prevail against them, as so often happens in real life. The writing is clear and easy to follow, the dialogs are natural, and the pacing steadily increases the tension, so the novel never becomes tedious. Rather the contrary; I just had to turn pages to find out what would happen next. The novel is also educational and I learned a lot about archeological excavations, native American history, folklore, and myths, so I can highly recommend The Clovis Dig by Teri Fink to anyone looking for both entertaining and enlightening literature.