Title: Lure of the Mummy
Author: Janis Susan May
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: Aug 2011
Format: Kindle Novella, 72 pages
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by Carolyn
Bert Carmody can’t catch a break. As a hieroglyphs translator he’s actually quite good. However, being pudgy, balding and awkward, he’s always in the shadow of his young, charismatic coworkers.
Disillusioned and bitter, Bert spends his free time scouring the markets of Cairo hoping to find an unrecognized genuine artifact for the pittance a scholar can afford. His latest discovery is another piece of rubbish, just another animal mummy—one of literally millions of votive offerings from the ancients to one god or another. Or is it?
Suddenly, things start looking up for Bert. But as he starts to get the recognition he deserves, there are deadly consequences for his coworkers. Will Bert finally be set for life, or will the lure of the mummy ruin him forever? (Goodreads)
Looking at the cover, the title as well as the fact Carina Press classes “Lure of the Mummy” as a horror, I was expecting more. The writing is good but the horror is non existent, and with just 72 pages to play with I felt that the story was just too short. It felt as if it was from a much longer work, but to keep it at novella length the author removed huge chunks of the story. It read a little thin.
There wasn’t a lot of depth to the characters, and the world was very narrowly focused, mainly on an apartment and an office. The fact the story was set in Egypt should have given the author a lot to play with but unfortunately the opportunity was lost.
“Lure of the Mummy” is set in Egypt and should have conveyed the colourful Egyptian atmosphere, lifestyle and people. It did for the first couple of pages and then disappeared inside an office building and apartment. I would have like much more descriptive detail of the Egyptian museum and wish that it was set there rather than alternating between a boring office and apartment. I think it would have added to the story of the mummified cat and the strange goings on.
Bert is the main character and who most of the story centres around. He’s a hieroglyphics expert, but he is bypassed for a more dynamic colleague when a new artefact needs translating. When he’s out at a market he’s offered a mummy to buy, which he does, but things are not as they seem with this mummified cat. When Bert thinks that a certain someone should just drop dead, they actually do…
When I finished the last page I was relieved. Bert is a very distasteful character and incredibly unlikable. He’s selfish and bitter, filled with jealousy and anger, basically he’s just a nasty little man. When he eventually gets his comeuppance I didn’t feel any sympathy for him at all. In fact I was rather indifferent.
“Lure of the Mummy” is interesting character study but not an immensely enjoyable piece of fiction. There wasn’t enough depth to the characters for me to connect with, and although Bert did get under my skin it was not in a good way. There’s also not enough world building, and with Egypt being the setting this novella should have oozed atmosphere. Although this isn’t an awful novella I personally wouldn’t recommend it, but if you like short, quick reads then you may enjoy this one more than me.
RATING: 5/10 ~ take it or leave it.
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