James Rollins meets Clive Cussler in Treasure Fever, the thrilling action-adventure novel from author James B. McPike.
For American Spy Max Finley, the job was supposed to be simple. Sent to track down Lexa, a woman who happens to be his former lover, things initially appear straightforward and easy enough. But what Max doesn’t know is that she’s closing in on a major discovery—the lost city of El Dorado.
Soon, the duo will learn the hard way that they aren’t the only ones looking for the city and its riches, and as more players emerge, the threat level increases as well. With danger all around them and questions of loyalty looming large, Max and Lexa must work together to find a way to survive and see her quest through to the end, one way or another . . .
While readers will no doubt pick up on shades of Indiana Jones here, the better literary comparison is legendary novelist Clive Cussler, and James McPike proves repeatedly that he knows his way around an action scene just fine. The deeper dive into the history of the Inca Empire is reminiscent of James Rollins’ ability to both educate and entertain readers with his research-heavy thrillers, so it’s safe to say that if you’re a fan of one of those guys, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this book.
A fine writer who flashes real potential here, McPike is a name to keep an eye on.
Just after the book’s release, McPike agreed to go on the record for our Five Questions piece and I asked him about everything from how he came up with the story idea for this book to who some of his favorite writers are.
See the full Q&A below, then make sure to order your copy of Treasure Fever, now available in paperback and ebook.
TRBS: Thanks so much for sending me a copy of Treasure Fever, I enjoyed the heck out of it and can’t wait to hear what Book Spy readers think. How did you come up with the story idea for this one?
McPike: I’ve always been interested in the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro. For those that don’t know he was the conquistador who conquered the Incan Empire in the 16th century. History teaches us that he rose from nothing, was an illiterate swineherd, and yet became one of the most famous explorers of all time. He was resilient and never quit in his quest for gold, overseeing numerous expeditions into South America. In many ways, he overcame bigger odds and obstacles in terms of being outnumbered than Hernan Cortes did when defeating the Aztecs. I used that as a starting point and everything else fell into place with the iconic search for the legendary lost city of El Dorado!
TRBS: What sort of research did you have to do before actually sitting down to write?
McPike: I did a fair amount of research on the locations, the history of the treasure, and the danger Pizarro’s expeditions had to face.
TRBS: What is your writing process like? Do you have a target number of words you try to hit each day, do you work from an outline?
McPike: I have a few notes, mostly historical, but other than that it’s all in my head. I try to write as much as I can each day but don’t have a set number of words to reach. I just go with the flow. I’ve never been one to write a tedious outline and pre-plan events. I know it works for other authors, but that was never my style. To me writing is spontaneous, and in the process, I learn and grow along with the characters, just as the reader does. Fun things usually happen and when they do you can even surprise yourself a lot of the time. Hopefully, the readers enjoy the journey as well!
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what are a few of your all-time favorite thrillers?
McPike: Growing up I would always read everything I could from Preston & Child. To me, they are the high-standard. Their quality of writing, pacing, and style, and eloquent choice of words are a real joy to read and I feel privileged every time I get the opportunity. Then there’s David Morrell, who I think is the best action-thriller writer there is. I highly recommend his book The Protector, if you haven’t read it already. Very entertaining.
TRBS: Lastly, now that Treasure Fever is out, what’s next for you?
McPike: I’d like to say I have a bunch of books lined up, but truth be told, nothing at this time! I recently wrapped up a trilogy six years in the making so I encourage readers to check that out. I only write when an idea comes along that’s so compelling I have no other choice. I never write just for the heck of it. Plus you never know when something comes along to inspire you, so when that day happens, be on the lookout—and I’ll be sure to let you know! Thank you, Ryan, for everything you do for authors. Keep up the great work!
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.