If someone asked me to select only 10 authors to read for the rest
of my life, first I would beg them to up the number to at least 20.
(How can I pick just 10?) Then, when they refused, I would ask if I
could count Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child as one because, in my
mind, despite their individual talents and accomplishments, they
are, when working together, a well-oiled writing machine (singular)
not to be missed.
I would be hard-pressed, however, to pick which of their novels is
my favorite. Each page-turner is well written, clever, well
researched and timely, in a fashion. For instance, BRIMSTONE, their
latest, floats in on the current wave of suspenseful novels that
focus on puzzles, history and antiquities.
BRIMSTONE reunites three great recurring characters from earlier
Preston-Child books RELIC and RELIQUARY: FBI special agent
Pendergast, an educated, polished and surprisingly knowing
detective; Vincent D'Agosta, an experienced and emotionally frail
cop; and Laura Hayward, a rising star in the NYPD.
These three join together to solve a horribly gruesome murder in a
Hampton estate, followed by a second and very similar murder. Both
crimes have the hallmarks of something supernatural or evil. So
much so that religious fanatics take up camp outside one crime
scene and a self-appointed leader with a messiah complex starts
spouting allusions to an impending apocalypse. Not convinced that
they're dealing with something so ultimately devilish and
catastrophic, Pendergast and D'Agosta travel to Italy in search of
a more domestic, mundane solution to the crime. While there, they
uncover an ancient sect and an unholy pact that holds the true
answer to the stateside murders.
BRIMSTONE has it all: Mafioso. Robots. Tricks-of-hand. Alfred
Nobel. Canada. Cheating Wives. Princeton University. Picturesque
Island. Tent city. Charred corpses. Unexplainable hoof prints.
Born-again Christians. Killer Dogs. Priceless Violins. Office sex.
Laser Guns. Edgar Allen Poe references. Secret passages. Opera.
Assassins. Luxury cabin cruisers. Even spontaneous human
One of these things is the key to the entire mystery. And it's
probably not the one you think it is!
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 7, 2011