Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

This book was a pleasant surprise.  I wasn't familiar with the series;  but reading previous books in the series wasn't a prerequisite for enjoying this one.  While it might have been nice to know more about the background of the characters, this book stood on its own very well.

The characters were interesting and likable, and the subject matter was unusual and informative.  It's fascinating to know that people actually did live underground in Oklahoma City at one time.

The mystery was intriguing and came to a satisfying conclusion.  An enjoyable read.
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"Catacombs" is the fifth book I read from the series. I met the author 10 years ago when "Floodgates" released. A very elegant and sophisticated lady, and her elegance and sophistication have translated well into her books. 

Ms Evans always chooses social issues or events and carefully weaves her topics of interests into her fictional stories. By all means, her mystery novels are not cozy nor commercially written. She writes excellent mysteries with intense plots and memorable characters. In "Catacombs," the historical aspect about the Underground Chinatown is very interesting. I recommend "Catacombs" to historical mystery lovers who would find the story captivating and engrossing.
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Faye Longchamp is at a convention in Oklahoma City when a bomb goes off in her hotel.  During the investigation, three bodies are found in the catacombs.  Once again, Faye has found herself in the middle of a mystery.  

This is the 12th novel in the Faye Longchamp series.  Each book is well written and entertaining with engaging characters and a creative storyline.  Evans explores themes of racism in the past and present in a believable way.  I love this series and look forward to another book in this series.
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Catacombs is the 12th book in the Faye Longchamp mystery series by Mary Anna Evans. Due out 13th Aug 2019 from Poisoned Pen, it's 320 pages and will be available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats.

I read this book as a standalone without being familiar with the author or series. I had no trouble following the narrative or keeping the characters clear in my mind. There's enough backstory included that it gave me a powerful desire to hunt down the back catalog, without spoiling the earlier stories for me.

This is a procedural mystery featuring an archaeologist who is also a consultant for law enforcement. I like it that Faye is sharply intelligent and focused and the author allows her to be competent on her own terms. I also like it that she's a person of color and the author doesn't feel the need to shout it from the rooftops (I actually had to dig around pretty thoroughly to check that fact).

This book drew me in immediately with an explosion in the hotel which is the site of an academic conference on indigenous people in America. For fans of FBI type thrillers which are realistic enough to be believable, this one is a winner. The plot is fairly intricate, with several disparate parallel plot threads which are woven together well. The denouement is exciting and skillfully revealed.

Four stars. Well done. I'm looking forward to the next book. I've also acquired the first book in the series which has drawn me in from the first page. The author's a wizard with dramatic tension.
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It's the first book I read in this series and I'm hooked.
It's a fascinating, enthralling and well written mystery that keep you guessing and it's fun to read.
I appreciated the character development, they're both interesting and likeable, the setting and the plot.
It was a fun read and I loved the mix of cold case, archeology and mystery. It worked well and kept me hooked.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the Poisoned Pen Press and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Faye Longchamp, an archeologist, can always be counted on to find more than anyone expects and this case is no different.  She's visiting Oklahoma City with her husband Joe (he's a great character, btw) when a bomb goes off in the lobby of the hotel where they are staying. Is this about targeting the Native Americans in town for a conference or something else? The FBI calls her in, having worked with her before, when they discover a vast network of, well, catacombs which were used by the Chinese population of OKC many years ago.  Of course, the identity and motive of the bomber is related to something else Faye finds.  One of the nice things about this series (and admittedly I've only read a few) is that you always learn something, in this case about how Chinese immigrants were treated.  You will be fine with this as a standalone because the characters are well drawn and the mystery itself is contained within this volume.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
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Catacombs was my first step into the Faye Longchamp series, and I am definitely going back to see how this series began. Mary Anna Evans weaves a wonderful mystery based on the history of the Oklahoma City underground. It's a fascinating take of survival, secrets, and family. A very special book and I can't wait to see where the author takes Faye next.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC in exchange of an honest review. 
This book has the best reviews and I thought I would enjoy it but I really cannot get into it at all. I don't think there is anything wrong with the writing of the book at all, I just think it isn't to my taste. I think the author has certain people that really love her books and I'm just not one of them. I cannot finish reading it because I am at chapter 6 and I am bored stiff.
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This is Evans' Faye Longchamp mystery #12.  Very interesting characters and stands alone even without having read previous in this series.  Pages start off with a BANG with a BOMB going off in a convention center in Oklahoma City. Who makes the best FBI agent?  An archaeologist by the name of Faye.  Story revolves around who set the bomb and why?  To really add depth to the story (HA HA) it is revealed that below ground are Catacombs that were homes to Chinese years ago.  Unique story line and is worth the time if for no other reason than the historic flavor.  "A copy of this book was provided by  Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley with no requirements for a review.  Comments here are my honest opinion."
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An action-packed thrill ride in a mysterious underground Chinatown, Catacombs delights and regales.  Another bomb has gone off in Oklahoma City, but it seems that this bomb was only designed to kill one person.  Is it a suicide bomber, or did someone else set off the bomb?  As the questions pile up, the FBI turns to Archeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth for help in finding the answers.

What I Like:

The main character, Faye, and her husband Joe are both relatable and admirable. It’s not often I run across characters I genuinely like as if they were real but Faye and her husband, Joe, are just such characters.  They are unassuming and hardworking family people who love and respect each other healthily and genuinely.  This genuineness is precisely what drives me and other readers to read book after book in this series.

I liked the way that the story explores social issues.   The characters confront racism in a way that enables the reader to see the racism through the main character’s eyes, rather than being told about the horrific way people can act. The same is true regarding the theme of invisibility, where groups of citizens - older adults, Chinese in the early 1900s and the working class are virtually invisible to society.  The plot of the story and the way the characters are developed leads the reader to empathize, which has a profound effect.

Learning about the Underground Chinatown in Oklahoma was fascinating and created the perfect setting for a mystery.  This piece of history has a story all its own, and the imagery in the novel enabled the reader to see and experience it.

What I Wish

I wish I knew more about the life of the bomber and that bomber’s family.  The story included relevant information, but it just felt like there was so much more to tell about them.  They were interesting enough that I wanted to know more.

I enjoyed reading this novel so much that I hope more stories feature Faye Longchamp-Mantooth and her genuine family ties.

To Read or Not to Read

Read the whole series if you haven’t already.  This book offers so much more than the typical who-done-it, you can’t miss it.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Dr. Faye Longchamp and her husband’s cousin, Cully Mantooth, are caught in an explosion in the Gershwin Hotel lobby that reveals a grand staircase to catacombs beneath the hotel.  Since Faye, as an archaeologist, has experience working with the FBI, she is quickly recruited to determine the relevance of the underground maze of tunnels and chambers.

While the bomber is killed in the blast, the mystery focuses on the why.  Catacombs is an excellent mystery, grounded in the history of the Chinese community living underground in downtown Oklahoma City.
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This is #12 in the Faye Longchamp mystery series, but it works as a standalone. This is my first venture into the books, and I was not confused by character relationships or any references to past events.

What I enjoyed:

1.  The story reveals timely cultural issues.

I had expected a straight-forward amateur detective-type mystery. While I got that (and it's a doozy), I also got a thoughtful, moving look at prejudices in our society. Even better? These arise naturally from the story circumstances. This isn't a book about an issue but a story that reveals an issue. There's a difference.

Evans writes with compassion, even as she describes the horrible ways that prejudices filter down through the years. Cully (an old movie star returning to Oklahoma) and Sly (Faye's father-in-law) both attended Indian schools. The under-funded schools lacked even basic items that make up "back-to-school" lists each year in the United States: pencils, paper, books. There was abuse at some schools. All of this is a true and shameful part of U.S. history. Both characters left without diplomas and had to build lives for themselves without it.

The catacombs of the title are the underground dwellings of a Chinese community in the early 20th century. These creative people dug through the walls of their below-ground basement apartments and created a multi-leveled living area beneath Oklahoma City. As strange as it sounds, this actually happened! Fascinating. Horrible, too. They weren't paid adequate wages and landlords refused to rent decent apartments to them. Why? Their ethnicity.

And then there's protest against the academic conference on Indigenous Art. It's disappointing but not surprising that certain types of people would protest this exploration of a culture that is not "theirs".

There's a running theme about the idea of "invisible people." Faye observes that the hotel maids are invisible to most. Those with power might not see them as people or consider their needs. But Faye does.

2.  Faye Longchamp-Mantooth is unique.

She's observant and astute, two qualities that I imagine archeologists need in abundance! (The tidbits of professional knowledge are fascinating.)

While she's definitely a strong woman and a feminist, she is considerate and understanding of different codes of honor. For example, both she and Cully are somewhat hurt in the bombing. Medics attend Faye first and she wants to protest. Cully is an old man! Examine him first! But she knows that his chivalrous nature and generational ideas would never allow him to be treated before a woman. So instead of protesting, she respects that by remaining silent. (And Cully does a jig to demonstrate his "healthy" state.)

3.  Faye and Joe's relationship is realistic and beautiful.

Evans gives us a realistic marital relationship here. Joe and Faye know each other, deeply care about each other, and feel secure enough in that love to argue together. (A healthy relationship doesn't mean a conflict-free one!) They support each other's work. She sees even more potential greatness lying inside him and is determined to make her husband shine. It's beautiful.

4. And more . . .

There's much more that I could rave about. The plot is great. The writing is terrific. All in all, it's a well-crafted story. Evans writes with compassion and understanding, and this is a wonderful book.

Thanks again to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a copy of Catacombs in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure to read this book.
(Note: the review on my blog will go live on August 5, 2019.
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First of all I would like to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read an arc of Catacombs.  I've been a fan of this series since the beginning but have not read the last couple of books so I happily jumped at the chance to read this one. 
Faye and Joe are at a conference of Indigenous art and artisans. The conference literally starts off with a bang. Faye is meeting with Joe's cousin Cully when a bomb goes off. Although shaken both Faye and Cully are ok. The FBI requests Faye's help, and a secret room below the hotel is revealed...along with the bodies of 3 little boys. Thoughts of the little bodies along with the legend of an underground city that the early Chinese inhabited is enough to get Faye's full attention. It's a race to discover who the bomber is and if there is a tie-in to the dead children in the mysterious room.  And then  one of the conference speakers disappears and the tension continues to mount. A surprise twist results in a breathless ending.
Mary Anna Evans gives us an intelligent well paced mystery interspersed with fascinating bits of the history of the Oklahoma City area. All her characters are interesting and well-developed. Cully and Jakob are new additions and I hope we get to see them more in the future. While this book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone I would recommend reading the first couple of books first if for no other reason than to gain an understanding of Faye and Joe's beginnings. I highly recommend Mary Anna Evans' Faye Longchamp series!
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Combining archaeology, crime-scene investigation, Hollywood stardom, history and mystery, Catacombs has something for many readers. 

The clock starts the first moment an explosion terrifies guests at an Oklahoma City hotel, but we have to go back in time to determine who set the bomb and why. The blast opens up a staircase to catacombs beneath the city - catacombs rumored to house thousands of immigrants a century before. 

Well-known archaeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth is at the historic hotel for a conference about indigenous peoples; the explosion sends her flying right into a mystery. Who wanted to destroy the hotel? Is it tied to the conference? Or is there something hidden in the catacombs that someone wants buried in the past? 

This was my first Faye Longchamp-Mantooth book, but it won’t be my last. I was able to jump right into the story and characters without having their backstories. 

Tying archaeology to crime-scene investigations, as well as the history of indigenous peoples and the society that lived under Oklahoma City was compelling. The characters are likable, and I want to know more about them.
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Catacombs is a fantastic book that I could not put down. I enjoyed the plot and characters. Well written and I have a new favorite author to add to my list.
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Interesting storyline,could not put the book down,well developed characters telling their story,would recommend this book for a book club.
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5 stars

Another wonderful story by Mary Anna Evans. 

Archeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth gets herself into another captivating adventure once more. This time she is attending a seminar on Native American crafting skills with her husband Joe in Oklahoma City. A bomb goes off in the lobby of the hotel where they are staying just as Faye is getting to know her new cousin-in-law movie actor Cully Mantooth. He is a cousin of Joe's. 

The FBI wants her expertise with some evidence that they found under the city where nearly a century earlier Chinese immigrants lived. They were felling from the hatred and discrimination they experienced above ground. 

They set out to discover the identity of the bomber who was killed in the blast. Faye's eye for detail and some interesting art point them in the right direction. She gets herself in a pickle when a friend goes missing and she sets out to follow Cully who is acting mysteriously. 

This is a very good book, flawlessly written. Ms. Evans' descriptions about Faye's surroundings are well put together; they put the reader right into the story. She seems to write effortlessly and beautifully. She makes writing look easy, and I'm sure it is not. I like Faye and Joe very much and really enjoy reading about their adventures and their relationship. This book reads very quickly. I was sorry to see the story end. I am very much looking forward to the next novel in this series. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for forwarding to me a copy of this absolutely delightful book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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This series is always interesting even if you are not a fan of archaeology and you always seem to learn new things. In this case, Faye discovers that the Chinese lived for extended periods of time under the streets of Oklahoma City when a bomb is detonated inside a hotel she happens to be in. This leads to her once again putting her unique skills to use to aid the FBI as they search for the who and why of a supposed terrorist attack.

This series just gets better and better and the ending is another thrill ride that is worth the read. Please add this one to your to-read list. 

Highly recommended!
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Archaeologist Faye Longchamp is in Oklahoma for a conference when an explosion rocks the Oklahoma City Hotel. Seriously shaken by the incident, Faye soon finds she’s in her element. The explosion has broken up the floor on the venerable hotel, revealing a warren of tunnels underneath. The tunnels actually provided “housing” for Chinese immigrants 100 years earlier, and Faye is eager to explore. But her excitement soon turns to horror when the bodies of three children are found in the tunnels. I have loved this series from the very first entry, Evans does an amazing job at portraying the plight of indigenous peoples, both past and present, with a satisfying mystery to boot
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