May 2010

A feverish race to the end

By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
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Much to the delight of his fans, the brilliant, fabulously wealthy, king of cool FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast is back in action and out for revenge. Pendergast, the brainchild of best-selling coauthors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, has been the driving force behind 13 previous novels, including Relic, Dance of Death and The Book of the Dead (the only books in the series that the authors recommend reading in sequence).

Their latest book, Fever Dream, is a stand-alone read that exemplifies the authors’ mastery of the suspense genre. The story unfolds as Pendergast and Helen—his much-beloved wife of two years—are relaxing at the end of an African safari. Their peaceful moment is interrupted when Pendergast is summoned to kill a rogue, man-eating lion and Helen—who is a crack shot—goes with him. She is killed during a vicious attack, but an emotionally scarred Pendergast survives the tragedy. Some 12 years later, he discovers that her weapon had deliberately been loaded with blanks. Obviously, his wife had been murdered.

He sets out to find her killer and commandeers his closest ally, NYPD Lt. Vincent D’Agosta, in a search that takes them from Africa to the swamps of Louisiana. Meanwhile Vincent’s love, NYPD Homicide Captain Laura Hayward, is not happy. This isn’t the first time that Pendergast has taken her Vinnie along on a chillingly dangerous ride.

Clues drop and bullets fly as they get ever closer to the elusive truth when Pendergast uncovers Helen’s obsession with artist John James Audubon—and a quest for a missing Audubon painting that proves to be the motive for her death. He can’t help but wonder if he ever really knew his wife.

When deeper, darker secrets are revealed, a disgruntled Captain Hayward is forced into the fray as the killers close in and the action heats up even more as the tale races to its violent conclusion. At the end, though, some questions remain unanswered. Sequel, anyone?

Although the authors live 500 miles apart, their writing is seamless and totally absorbing, the byproduct of a friendship that began around 1985 when the two first met. At the time, Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History, and Child was an editor, a rising young star in the book-publishing world. They soon became close friends and the rest is history—mixed with heady doses of science and mayhem. Preston & Child fans won’t want to miss Fever Dream.

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Fever Dream

Fever Dream

By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Grand Central
ISBN 9780446554961

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