Come In and Cover Me by Gin Phillips
Published by: Riverhead
Published on: January 12, 2012
Page Count: 352
My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher for consideration
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Ren is an archeologist who has made a name for herself through her discovery of specialized Southwestern American Mimbres pottery that she has attributed to one artist. Currrently working for a museum, she receives a call from a dig where they believe they may have found new sherds of bowls that may have been crafted by her artist. She arranges with the museum to head to the dig to see what has been found. What no one knows is that there is a supernatural aspect to her work. She frequently is in touch with the ghost of her older brother and often sees things from the past when she is on site. It was these visions that led her to her big archeological discovery. She fears what her colleagues might think of her if her secret gets out. Her visit to the site and her keeping her secret becomes more complicated when she begins a relationship with a fellow archeologist on the dig, Silas. Not only is getting close to another professional emotionally risky, the visions she begins having of her artist seem to be sending her warnings.
Beginning in junior high, I wanted to be an archeologist. Perhaps it was the influence of Indiana Jones, but the idea of discovering history in the ground was appealing to me. In the end I found I lacked math skills and, more to the point, the discipline required to keep digging when nothing seemed to be there. It’s still a subject that interests me, so when I had the opportunity to read an ARC of Come In and Cover Me, I jumped. Throughout the book, I enjoyed the aspects that pertained to the work itself and about life on a dig. The long days working in the sun followed by quiet evenings eating around a camp fire felt real. Partaking in philosophical discussions about how to interpret findings and spending quite hours working with your hands outside. I could imagine having a vocation to for it all and living that life like a archaeological prayer.
Although I loved the idea of this novel and how the spirits of the departed could still play a role in the uncovery of what they left behind, I didn’t fall in love with the novel a whole. There are three story lines: Ren’s brother Scott and how his lingering presence impacted Ren’s adolescence and adulthood, Ren’s new relationship with Silas, and her interactions with her artist. Mixing and mingling the three together slowed the novel down. Had there been just two story lines or if one had been much less prominent than the other two, I think it would have worked better for me. It isn’t that the stories weren’t interesting. Far from it. It just seemed to take forever to get anywhere. Just when something significant happened in one area, it got unnecessarily bogged down in another. Perhaps it wouldn’t have felt that way had I thought that Ren’s interpretation of her vision was in any way correct. It just reaffirmed that Ren over analyzed everything. Combined with her inability to reach out for help or advice, it drove me just a little crazy.
While Come In and Cover Me wasn’t a book I fell in love with from cover to cover, I enjoyed the peak into life in the Southwest of an archeologist of today and of a Mimbre potter of long ago. Spending time in this book made me want to take a trip to explore that area of the country. I haven’t read Gin Phillips first novel, The Well and the Mine. I have a feeling that either that book or another book down the road will simply be amazing to me.
As a child of the 80s, the title Come In and Cover Me immediately reminded me of a Bruce Springsteen song.I couldn’t close this review without sharing it. It really has nothing to do with the novel whatsoever, but it’s my blog and it makes me happy. Ha!