Ramsey’s Gold (Drake Ramsey, Volume 1), by Russell Blake

This was a surprisingly fun yet tense thriller introducing a new character. This book came out in 2015 and there are now three books in the series featuring Drake Ramsey. The two follow-up books are Emerald Buddha and The Goddess Legacy.

The book begins with Drake, who has the name Drake Simmons when we meet him, working as a “fugitive recovery agent” in Mountain View, California. After making a legal error on his last catch he’s told that he’s not going to be given any cases for a while. But just before leaving the office he’s given a message from a Seattle attorney. A woman in Idaho has died and left him a gift of $25,000 and the attorney is authorized to pay Drake’s ticket to receive the bequest.

Suspicious, as this is a woman he’s never heard of, he flies up to meet the attorney. There he’s given the money, a letter from the woman, and a journal. These things will radically change his life, identifying his deceased real father and the journaled details of a treasure hidden in the Peruvian rain forest. But Drake soon discovers that two ex-KGB agents are on a hunt for something hidden near the treasure, and the U.S. Government wants it, too.

Drake manages to find and team up with his father’s best friend on a trip that takes him through Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and into the jungle. The Russians are close behind and he’s also found by the CIA, both demanding the journal.

Drake is a fun character who dives into the adventure with the enthusiasm of an Indiana Jones (and he’s teased by one of the characters for choosing a similar hat) as he’s given some basic survival and weapons training by his new partner. Likeable characters are found to be treacherous, suspicious characters show their worth, and while a few fun characters meet their demise the end is a satisfying pleasure.

We never learn the real nature of the substance everyone is chasing, and the person who has hidden it in the jungle is beyond bizarre, but book has all the elements you want in a thriller like this. I’ll be picking up the next two Drake Ramsey books soon.