Murder on Puncak Jaya
Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins
Irion Books, May 26 2011, $19.95
Having successfully climbed three of the world’s highest mountains on different contents (see Summit Murders on Everest, Elbrus and McKinley), Scott Devlon is joining an expedition to conquer Puncak Jaya, the highest peak in Oceania at over 16,000 feet. Even before undergoing a difficult climb, Scott understands reaching the base of the mountain will prove extremely troublesome as the mountain known locally as Raksasa is located in a remote deadly rain forest of New Guinea; which is why of the selected seven this has been climbed the least. Scott is going because DIA wants information on a new company that may be destabilizing the Grasburg gold and copper mine.
Flying from beautiful Bali to the remote part of Papua proves disappointing as the air strip is a garbage dump of twenty-first century litter. On the trek to the mountain through a rain forest, the natives using poisoned darts do not welcome intruders and attack the climbing party protected by soldiers. Insects carrying lethal diseases also assault the outsiders. The mountain also proves deadly to the party as Sandy, Owen and Jack are murdered and Gabby died from a snake bite.
This one differs from Scott’s pervious climbs as the action starts even before the assent in this super action-packed thriller. The vivid descriptions of Papua especially Puncak Jaya enhances this Summit Murder Mystery as readers will learn how deadly this remote region can be and how ice in the tropics exist at the high attitude of the mountain. As a bonus, the authors include brief descriptions of the seven summits. This is a winner in a winning series in which geography is fun to learn.