I'm not exactly original in saying this, but Artifact
by Gigi Pandian is very much a story in the vein of Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss mysteries, combining adventure with treasure hunt, murders, academics, humour and a dash of romance.
Is it as good? Hmm. The Vicky Bliss stories I've read so far aren't my favourite Elizabeth Peters books, but they're nice, entertaining, fun reads, and Pandian's Artifact
is much the same.
I found the pacing pretty good, the research & historical detail interesting (it was obvious the author had either done considerable research into the chosen topics or rather already wisely based the action/mysteries in a field she's familiar with), plenty of twists and turns along the way to keep me guessing (some of the twists I could predict, others not). The cast of characters was interesting and varied enough and the dialogue flowed reasonably well.
I also liked that the romance, the implication of which was there from early on, never overtook the plot. I'm not sure I quite cared for how easily Jaya trusted Lane or how quickly that romance seemed to develop, perhaps because I prefer a bit more than "he has gorgeous cheekbones" to go on, but it wasn't really any worse than in most books with some romance.
My main issue was that I felt there was comparatively a little too much telling and too little showing for my taste. The parts with action - the parts where Jaya and Lane actually got up to stuff - were good and well-paced, but there were perhaps a few too many (and too long) parts where one or another character simply told others (and the reader) things we needed to know, whether background, exposition, or simply "what happened before". Some of this is of course needed and useful, but I'm not sure the balance was quite perfectly captured in Artifact
This is also why I'm rating this three stars ("I liked it") and not four ("I loved it"). I did enjoy the book, and may well be interested in reading the next one.* ARC of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley. Thanks!