Missing in Machu Picchu

( 3 )

Overview

High in the Andes Mountains on the legendary Inca Trail, four thirty-something professional women embark on an Ivy League hike to help them confront their online dating dependency, only to find themselves victims of a predator’s ruse, and soon in a fight for their very lives. The women are eager to leave relationships behind for a while, but their intent to cast off their search for a soul mate falls by the wayside when handsome, magnetic Rodrigo, their hike leader, proves too mesmerizing to resist. Friend is ...
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Missing In Machu Picchu

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Overview

High in the Andes Mountains on the legendary Inca Trail, four thirty-something professional women embark on an Ivy League hike to help them confront their online dating dependency, only to find themselves victims of a predator’s ruse, and soon in a fight for their very lives. The women are eager to leave relationships behind for a while, but their intent to cast off their search for a soul mate falls by the wayside when handsome, magnetic Rodrigo, their hike leader, proves too mesmerizing to resist. Friend is pitted against friend as the women vie for Rodrigo’s attentions. Rodrigo manipulates them into participating in a heinous ancient sacrifice that will guarantee the success of his megalomaniacal dreams. But unbeknownst to the hikers, they have been under the vigilant presence of Taki and Koyam, two elderly indigenous women who understand the danger the women are facing at the hands of Rodrigo.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A group of American women decide to get over their misadventures in online dating by embarking on an exclusive hike of the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu, Peru, geared for Ivy League graduates and run by the charismatic and enigmatic Rodrigo. Of course the women don't know that their tour leader is a crazed sadist bent on stealing their money and seducing them into sacrifices he believes will make his depraved dreams come true. Velástegui may have enormous respect for Incan culture and complicated feelings about the influx of tourists to Peru, but that does not translate into an enjoyable novel. Her characters are too broadly drawn and intensely dislikable. Rodrigo is a cartoonish villain, his henchmen equally shallow, and the American women screeching caricatures.
From the Publisher
"Missing in Machu Picchu is more than a thriller. Velastegui's prose is dreamlike and evokes comparisons with the best writers of modern magical realism."
--ForeWord Review, 5 Stars out of 5

"The twists and turn of the plot are as intriguing as the beautiful descriptions of the Inca Trail."
--US Review of Books

ForeWord Review
Missing in Machu Picchu is more than a thriller. Velastegui's prose is dreamlike and evokes comparisons with the best writers of modern magical realism. (5 Stars out of 5)
US Review of Books
The twists and turn of the plot are as intriguing as the beautiful descriptions of the Inca Trail.
Kirkus Reviews
A hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu leads a group of Ivy League women into the crux of deceit and debauchery in Velástegui's novel. Taki and Koyam, street vendors in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru, overhear several ladies talking about a tour group. The two elderly locals are worried when they mention their prospective guide, Rodrigo, who's notorious for his reputed involvement in child trafficking and hasn't shown his face in Cusco in two years. Taki, who has psychiclike visions, and Koyam trail the group as the women trek to meet up with Rodrigo, while revenge-seeking Violette, who once accused the corrupt man of sacrificing her baby, also shadows the hikers. The novel (Traces of Bliss, 2012, etc.) brims with historical facts, including recurrent allusions to Hiram Bingham, the explorer who claimed to have discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Some of these passages, like specifics on mallquis (mummified remains used in worship), slow the novel's tempo a bit. Still, they serve a narrative purpose and occur less frequently in the more intense second half, when Rodrigo's plan comes to light. The five women of the group, all with hopes of overcoming the perils of online dating, are each given memorable personalities, including the dense but resilient Tiffany, who drives home points with "duh-uh." The evolutions of the individual women provide some of the book's pluses--their mutual dislike of one another is indisputable, but they gradually come to friendly terms during their ordeal. Rodrigo is an intimidating bad guy, complete with minions who do his bidding and a god complex; he quite literally believes he's Illapa, the god of thunder. The novel does have comic relief, mostly in the form of Sandra, whose accented English is phonetically rendered. She insists that others pronounce her name "Zahndrah," and she spends much of her time not spending money and even demanding a refund when she hasn't paid anything at all. There's also a considerable narrative bite--some characters end up battered and bloody, and others may not make it out alive. Fortified by vibrant characters and a tenacious plot; it packs a mean punch when readers least expect it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780985176945
  • Publisher: Libros Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 970,788
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Cecilia Velastegui was born high up in the Andes Mountains in Quito, Ecuador, where she spent her childhood. Although she now lives at sea level, she still owns two friendly alpacas. She was raised in California and France, and has traveled to over fifty countries. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, and speaks four languages. Velastegui’s previous novel, Traces of Bliss, received First Place in Popular Fiction at the International Latino Book Awards in June 2012. It was also selected by the Association of American Publishers on the 2012 Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. Her debut novel, Gathering the Indigo Maidens, was a finalist in four categories in the International Latino Book Awards. She donates a portion of her proceeds to the fight against human trafficking, which is an underlying theme in her novels.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    2.5 Stars 'Missing In Machu Picchu' is a contemporary fiction n

    2.5 Stars

    'Missing In Machu Picchu' is a contemporary fiction novel that follows four friends who get together to hike the Andes Mountains and to catch up with each other's lives. Along the way, they realize they have been misled and must now find a way to survive. Enter in the gorgeous hike guide named Rodrigo, and the friends find themselves vying for his attention while turning on each other in the process. Only Rodrigo isn't who he seems and the four women will find out just what they are made of if they are going to make it back alive.

    This novel had an interesting premise and the plot sounded promising, but the writing and the lack of character development made it come up short for me. The writing itself was done well enough, but the dialogue felt forced and unnatural and the descriptions seemed to be overdone. The characters were all stereotypical and not developed at all - they didn't really have any personalities and I wasn't able to identify on a deeper level with any of them. Things did get a big cheesy when they all fight over their typical "hot and mysterious bad-boy" tour guide. After that, the book completely lost it's grip on me and I didn't have much interest left. The ending wasn't bad, but what happened in the middle of the book could have been done in a more accessible way for the reader to invest in both the plot and in the characters. The writing was pretty good and flowed well most of the time, but there were parts that felt false and choppy.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Be careful what you wish for Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reade

    Be careful what you wish for

    Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/12)

    Go along on a beautiful journey in “Missing in Machu Picchu” by Cecelia Velástegui. When a group of women who are Ivy League alumni, including a couple of wannabes, get together to go on a mystical tour of Machu Picchu they end up getting more than they bargained for. Deciding to take the trip to purge themselves of their addiction to online dating, they end up learning a lot more about themselves and why they have had to resort to going online to meet potential mates. The women admit to being fed up with the lies that they are told by their potential suitors, however, as the trip progresses, they realize that they are also misleading these men. The truth hurts.

    What really hurts even more is the fact that their handsome, sexy tour guide Rodrigo has plans to take advantage of what little vulnerability they have. Rodrigo has a history of using poor, young Peruvian ladies. It is rumored that the offspring of these relationships end up getting sold illegally to wealthy foreigners. When he met Violette, a wealthy French woman, Rodrigo promised her love and a child. Since she was barren, the child was to be from one of the young women. After the child was stillborn, Violette also discovered that Rodrigo had stolen her fortune. Caught up in her anger at his deception, she accused him of sacrificing the child. Overwrought with emotion, Violette appeared to be mentally unstable when she went to court. This caused her to be expelled from Peru and for Rodrigo to become an outcast.

    At the same time that Violette decides to return for revenge, Rodrigo sneaks back and sets up a tour with the spoiled Americans. To put his plan into motion, Rodrigo secretly works at seducing the women on the tour. He figures out their weaknesses and for some reason they fall for it. Joining the tour to assist Rodrigo is a band a misfits. They are in on most of his plan, and believe that when he gets what he wants they will be greatly rewarded. Following the group bent on revenge is Violette and two elderly Peruvian women named Taki and Koyam. These women want to halt his activities before he hurts more people. Taki has a special gift of being able to communicate with the mallqui, who are the mummified remains of ancient ancestors. Knowing where some are hidden from the government and looters, Taki protects them.

    As the journey progresses Rodrigo begins to show his true nature and his insane plan comes to light. The ladies have to decide if they are going to fight for the group or just themselves. Taki and Koyam have to rely on their special gifts to try to save them from both Rodrigo and Violette. One would question whether or not they are worth the trouble. It is during this most trying time that the ladies start figuring out the truth about their selves.

    “Missing in Machu Picchu” by Cecelia Velástegui is another beautifully written novel by Cecelia Velastegui. Combining historical fact with a modern fictional story takes the reader on an incredible journey. The mysticism and beauty behind the mallqui adds to the drama. Incorporating real pictures and drawings into the book brings it to life. It also made me interested in investigating more about the history of Machu Picchu, which I did. As with her other novels, readers will not be disappointed and really enjoy immersing themselves in this story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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