Cover image for Thread of the spider
Thread of the spider
Davis, Val.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002.
Physical Description:
244 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Thomas Dunne books."
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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That car ...belonged to a pair of bank robbers. Their names were Knute and Nora and they were almost as famous as Bonnie and Clyde during the Depression....They got killed in the Green River Massacre, but the car was never found.
There's more, Nick said. This paper is dated more than a year before the Japanese attacked Pearl. . . . And there's a handwritten notation at the bottom: 'If need be, we must allow the Japanese to strike the first blow in order to unite the American people for the coming war, ' ... initialed 'FDR'.
Nicolette Scott and her father are both archaeologists, but with differences. Professor Elliott Scott lives and breathes very early Americans, like the Anasazi. His digs are in the southwest, where the ancient peoples lived. To him, his daughter Nicky's area of concern is not to be taken at all seriously. Nicky goes for the culture embodied by artifacts from the twentieth century -- a crashed plane from either World War is enough to send her senses tingling. So when she discovers a 1937 Packard convertible hidden in a sealed cave in the Utah desert, she is ecstatic. It's only when she begins to read through the papers hidden under a seat cushion that the thrill turns to something very like a chill. If those papers are genuine, they represent a huge find for Nick. But they also represent one of the most scandalous secrets in our country's history.
Authentic or fake, they are still important to someone, as Nick learns when invisible threats come closer and closer to Nick, to culminate in a murderous meeting under the blazing Utah sun. This is Nicolette's most suspenseful dig, and one that will keep readers gasping and pages turning.

Author Notes

"Val Davis" is the husband and wife team of Robert and Angie Irvine, and this is the fifth in their series starring archaeologist Nicky Scott. Before they teamed up as writers, Bob was singly responsible for a number of mystery novels, most notably the series set in Salt Lake City (his hometown), and featuring the delicate relationship of a lapsed Mormon detective who is frequently called upon to solve the secular problems of the Church of Latterday Saints.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Out of a job at the Smithsonian thanks to the fallout from her previous adventure, archaeologist Nicolette "Nick" Scott is spending the summer on a dig in Utah, but, as usual, she is sidetracked from her original purpose. Instead of unearthing clues about the ancient Anasazi tribe, Nick manages to dig up a more recent artifact--a 1937 Packard convertible. A letter inside the car reveals that it was the getaway vehicle for a famous bank-robbing couple killed in 1940 and hints at the location of some hidden loot from their last robbery. What Nick finds instead of money, however, are documents relating to a conspiracy much larger than a pair of small-time crooks. It's all practically ancient history, but when Nick starts to investigate, she finds that some important and dangerous people still have an interest in how it all turns out. The narrative moves smoothly between the 1940s and the present day, and the exciting plot makes up for some weak characterization in Davis' fifth mystery. --Carrie Bissey

Publisher's Weekly Review

When archeologist Nicolete "Nick" Scott uncovers an unusual artifact in her fifth adventure, she sets in motion an unbelievable chain of violence and devastation. Davis (Track of the Scorpion, etc.) has created a whopper of a plot that begins with Nick and her father, famed Anasazi archeologist Elliot Scott, along with fellow scientist Reed Austin, searching for Anasazi sites in Baptist Wash, Utah. Since Nick's field is "historical archaeology, the study of the near-past," she is more excited by the discovery of a 1937 Packard than she is by the older pay dirt she helps her father find. The car belonged to a notorious pair of Bonnie-and-Clyde-like bank robbers who hit Utah banks hard during their brief careers. When Nick begins to research the provenance of her find, all hell breaks loose. Buried with the bank robber's car were secrets someone still wants to protect-secrets that could tarnish or destroy presidential reputations and dash the hopes of a presidential aspirant. Nick, Elliot and Reed face unexpected pressures and each fights back, but it is the stubborn and determined Nick who leads the way. Davis captures some of the romance of archeology and makes excellent use of the topography, climate and history of Utah, but the clunky plot is never convincing. Worse, neither is the conclusion, which not only doesn't satisfy but also leaves too many threads of Davis's web blowing in the wind. (Oct. 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Series sleuth and archeologist Nicolette "Nick" Scott (The Return of the Spanish Lady) finds trouble while looking for remnants of the Anasazis in Utah. She uncovers the remains of a getaway car used by notorious 1940s bank robbers and in its trunk is a document containing murder-inducing secrets. An exciting, well-handled plot recommends this to fans of archeological mysteries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.