Angel of Vilcabamba
Angel of Vilcabamba begins as human rights investigator John Alexander (JA) has volunteered to rescue Andalucía Gonzáles-Chuca of Cueca, Ecuador, an orphaned twelve-year-old girl who has been kidnapped to Peru over testimony in a case before the Commission of Human Rights. He is to present Ms. Gonzáles (Andy) before the High Commissioner in New York City on or before January 13, 1972. Of course the assignment is personal on a number of levels. If successful, he might adopt the child, for he loved her mother, but this will only be possible if he can get over his own emotionally crippled past, which includes the knowledge that everyone he’s ever cared about has died. And if he can convince the hot United Nations Vice Commissioner, Cristiana Tanassé, that he’s not too screwed up to be a proper parent.
The bulk of the novel takes place in various locales from Peru to Mexico. Andy is a delightfully quirky character who has set her sights on having JA for a father. Though perilous, their travels become her chance to bond with the man she hopes will become her father. For JA, it’s a trespass through his own dubious, womanizing past. Precocious as Andy is, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that it’s JA doing the supervising… at least until gunplay erupts.
This third in a series of JA’s adventures is as entertaining a journey through the relationship between the two principle characters as it is a suspenseful exercise in keeping the child from harm. It was sad to let JA and Andy go on the last page but maybe not completely necessary if the series continues.