RAYMOND KHOURY – The Devil’s Elixir. Dutton, hardcover, December 2011. Signet, premium paperback edition, August 2012.

   This is the third in a series featuring FBI agent Sean Reilly and his close lady friend, Tess Chaykin, who’s been along with him on his two previously recorded adventures, neither of which I’ve read, nor did I need to. This one stands on its own very well.

   In physical size, the book’s a bruiser. It’s over 500 pages of tall premium paperback pages long, almost all of cramjack filled with small print, and after a month or so of short reading bursts just before bedtime, I’ve finally finished it. It begins with Michelle Martinez, one of Reilly’s former girl friends calling on him for help. Her boy friend is dead in a house invasion, but she and her four-year-old son luckily managed to escape their assailants, a gang of guys with guns completely unknown to her.

   Reilly rushes cross-country to be at her side, which is when she tells him that her son is his. After that, all hell breaks loose. A Mexican crime lord is trying to track down the formula for a wildly hallucinogenic drug discovered centuries ago by Indians dwelling deep in Mexico’s densest inland jungles. Hence the title of the book, of course.

   Let me not dwell on the 500 pages this book is long. Khoury’s writing style is one that can be skimmed read very quickly. There is a lot of action, ending in many deaths and much destruction, and before you reach the end, any doubts you have have about the existence of reincarnation will be shaken to the core. Well, maybe.

   I hope I won’t be spoiling anything for you by telling you that all ends well, except for the bad guys and one loose end that will carry over to the next book in the series. My one complaint might be that after so many pages, the end for the main bad guy, a particularly nasty gentleman at that, comes far too quickly and easily.

   All in all, though, I’d have to say that I got my money’s worth from this book. But while it’s solid enough entertainment — nearly a month’s worth, for me — here I am at the end of this review, and I find that I’m struggling with something crucial. I can’t find anything to point out to you about the book that would tell you why I’ll be reading another of Sean Reilly’s adventures any time soon, for I’m sure I won’t. If your results have varied, feel free to let me know.