It's funny that sometimes I have such clear memories of the exact circumstances under which I bought a book. Back in 1984 I was visiting my hometown of Mexia, Texas, and my father and I were in the Safeway store (it's just an empty building now, closed for years). He was probably buying cat food and using his coupons. He liked coupons. Anyway, there was a small paperback rack near the checkout stand, and in the rack was a copy of Quintana Roo. It was a Gold Medal book, so naturally I had to take a look. And after a look, I bought it. I read most of it that weekend, and now I've read it again.
It's 1939, and a beautiful American woman comes to Vera Cruz to hire someone to search for a downed plane in Quintana Roo. Her husband was on board the plane, and so was John Hooker's best friend. Hooker's an American with a shady past (we never find out exactly why he's left the U.S. or what he's done), and he takes the job.
It's an adventure in the old pulp tradition: noisy bars with slow-moving ceiling fans, jungle treks, zombies, lost tribes, a killer cayman, and a few surprises -- what's not to like? I have to subtract points, though, because there's no quicksand. It's all fast and fun and predictable, but I don't regret re-reading it. Now and then something like this is just what I need.