Career criminals crisscross Europe as they tread a perilous path to revenge, and FBI agents race to solve bizarre murders plaguing an historic Southern city. But otherworldly forces lurk around the edges, turning these two thrillers into something else altogether.
The Nameless Ones
John Connolly’s The Nameless Ones is a bleak, unflinching look at the ways in which the effects of war ripple ever outward, endlessly destructive, never truly resolved. In places where this kind of conflict is never-ending, there are some—such as Serbian brothers Spiridon and Radovan Vuksan—who might decide that crime does pay. After committing countless atrocities in the 1990s Yugoslav wars (Spiridon prefers hands-on torture, Radovan is a hands-off strategist), the men now lead a crime syndicate and have amassed money, power and influence.
But these things don’t render them invincible, especially where Louis and Angel are concerned. These fan-favorite characters, a loving gay couple who happen to be an assassin and a thief, are front and center in this 19th installment of the Charlie Parker series, though Parker makes cameos here and there. Louis and Angel are on a mission to avenge the death of De Jaager, a Dutch fixer whom the Vuksan brothers and their colleagues murdered, along with three others, in Amsterdam.
De Jaager’s death is the latest in a round robin of revenge that’s decreasing the likelihood of the Vuksans ever returning to Serbia as free men. Connolly delves into the logistics of organized crime while illustrating how escalating pressures are fraying the Vuksan brothers’ contentious relationship. Complicating matters is Parker’s late daughter, Jennifer, who appears to Louis and Angel in their dreams, plus a woman named Zorya whose presence is discomfiting and mystifying. Will she help or hinder the Vuksans as Louis and Angel, enraged and determined, draw ever closer?
Multiple characters and points of view factor into the complex plot, offering history and context for the sociopaths, narcissists and opportunists that populate The Nameless Ones. There are moments of wit and wisdom, too—and sinister questions that will leave fans eager for the next installment.
This November, it will have been 50 years since people first began asking, “Who the hell was D.B. Cooper?” Fans of Aloysius X.L. Pendergast will be delighted that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have chosen to mark the anniversary of Cooper’s famously unsolved skyjacking in Bloodless, the 20th title in their bestselling series featuring the unusual and inimitable FBI special agent who’s solved more than 100 cases and counting.
The book opens with a closer look at what might’ve happened during Cooper’s fateful crime in the sky, and then it fast-forwards to the present day wherein Pendergast, his companion Constance Greene and his partner Armstrong Coldmoon are embarking on a weird new case. They’ve been called to Savannah, Georgia, where a body has been found completely drained of blood, and the residents have no insight or information to offer. (Or do they?)
In short order, there are more victims who look “like alien creatures or wax manikins” and a continued and confounding lack of clues, much to the dismay of an obnoxious senatorial candidate who pushes the FBI and local police for a quick resolution. Other complicating factors include a brash documentary crew, with dubious ethics, in town to chronicle the city’s alleged paranormal activity; rumors that the elderly Chandler House hotel proprietor Felicity Frost is actually a vampire; and kooky residents and tourists who keep things messy.
And then things get really messy, as whoever is killing people ratchets up the gruesomeness, splattering the charming historical city with blood and gore while infusing the humid air with abject terror. History, mystery, action and the unexplainable collide as the FBI team draws closer to their prey while trying to avoid being hunted themselves.
Bloodless is rife with inventive scenarios, amusing exchanges (especially between oft-impatient Coldmoon and eternally placid Pendergast) and tantalizingly spooky mysteries, topped off with a gloriously wild finale that is as action-packed as it is memorable.