Book review and giveaway: Michelangelo’s Ghost

Michelangelo’s Ghost: 
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery



Book Title:
Michelangelo’s Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
by Gigi Pandian
Category:  Adult fiction,  288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher:  Henery Press
Release date:  October 4, 2016
Format available for review: ebook
Tour dates:  October 10 to 21, 2016
Content Rating:  PG


Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble



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Last year, I organized a tour for author Gigi Pandian, but I didn’t have time to read the book myself. Gigi will be back on France Book Tours in January for her upcoming novel (there are still review copies available), so I thought time had come for me to take the time to discover her latest mystery, set in Italy: Michelangelo’s Ghost. I’m now so glad I finally met her fearless heroine Jaya Jones, aka JJ.

The book opens with a wonderful reflection on what makes something a treasure. I was hooked!
Another proof, if any is still needed, that the first paragraph is essential. It not only needs to grab you, but also has to fit perfectly within the style and genre of the book.


We get to know JJ, a historian by formation. But as she helped find a treasure in India, she now gets hundreds of similar requests. So when she receives an invitation from her old professor, Dr Lilith Vine, JJ cannot refuse. Lilith claims she found unique sketchbooks from the 16th century. They are the artwork of Lazzaro Allegri, a protégé of Michelangelo. Allegri spent thirty years in India, where he combined Italian religious iconography with Indian settings. That didn’t go too well with the papacy, so when he came back, he hid his works. Lilith asks JJ’s help to trace Allegri’s works of art and his hidden art studio.


So we follow then JJ in Italy, especially to Bomarzo and the famous Parco di Mostri, Park of Monsters, where the art studio seems to be located.
She goes there with her brother Mahilan and his girlfriend Ava, to try to find the artist’s workshop herself. When she arrives in Italy, she hears Lilith has died. JJ suspects she may have been killed and realizes her quest is going to be much more dangerous than an art history field trip.


To make matter worse, she is no longer sure whom she can trust. Was Lilith herself hiding something from her? What about Lane, her former lover and art thief, who shows up in Italy, disguised?


The descriptions of the Park of Monsters and its history were fascinating. Definitely a place you need to check on your next trip to Italy!
One unfortunate consequence I was not at all expecting from the book: it kept making me hungry, with its yummy evocation of Indian (through JJ’s diet and also her friend Sanjay’s, a stage magician) and Italian food. They even go to a cooking class with a chef!


The suspense was awesome, with spooky scenes. Despite the title, keep in mind that this is definitely not a supernatural, fantasy book, but a real mystery.


I was a bit mad at JJ sometimes, as it took her from chapters 14 to 37 to realize an important detail that seemed so blatantly oblivious to me from the get go, but there were plenty of other elements to prevent me from actually identifying the villain.
We run into several characters connected to JJ’s life, and sometimes it felt a bit too much for me to keep track of, probably because I have not read the three previous books in this series, but at the same time, it was neat, as it made for plenty of red-herrings, as it was hard to discern whom JJ could really trust.


The essential details about the clue are very clever and so easy to miss. And the ending is great!


VERDICT: Very clever mystery, rich with Italian and Indian art history and food. Irresistible combo!


A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?


gigi-pandianUSA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Tour connections:
@GigiPandian  and @NouveauWriter
#JayaJonesMystery   #treasurehunt   #mystery   #giveaway




Open to USA & Canada
Giveaway ends on Oct 29

Eiffel Tower Orange

Have you read any other mystery
featuring art history?


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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook free of charge from the author via Italy Book Tours
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

Italy Book Tours
iRead Book Tours

This book counted for these Reading Challenges

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15 thoughts on “Book review and giveaway: Michelangelo’s Ghost

    • I thought it was clear in my review, I gave the wikipedia link to this famous park, and I invited my readers to stop there next time they travel to Italy. The book cover is based on what of the statues there


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