A Pendergast Novel
By Preston & Child
Grand Central Publishing
Whenever people ask us what is the best New Pulp Fiction being published today, we’ll invariably point them to the Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In the same way Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt is a modern interpretation of the classic pulp hero, Doc Savage, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is our Shadow. We first became aware of this series when years ago a dear friend sent us copies of “Still Life With Crows” and “The Cabinet of Curiosities,” two of the early entries, as a Christmas gift. Thus leaving us with a debt we’ll never be able to completely repay. That we instantly were enamored with Pendergast and his world would be a gross understatement.
Preston and Child, in the grand tradition of the classic pulps, pull out all the stops and their plots are incredibly far-fetched, over-the-top, crazy mysteries filled with the most bizarre villains, monsters and incredibly brave heroes.
Okay, if the above paragraph hasn’t won you over, there’s no need to continue reading this review. “Crimson Shore” is the 15th book in the series. It begins when Pendergast and his beautiful young ward, Constance Greene, travel to a small fishing hamlet on the coast of Massachusetts named Exmouth. They have been hired by a well known sculptor, who resides in the village. His priceless wine collection has been stolen from the cellar of his lighthouse cottage. During their investigation, they uncover a centuries old murder which sets them on a hunt for a mysterious killer who lives in the marshes along the shore. Soon both Pendergast and Constance are delving into Exmouth’s sordid past; a history connected with the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
When several people are slain and their corpses found tattooed with arcane symbols, panic begins to grip the small, close knit community and our heroes are quickly caught up in a suspenseful chase that will lead them into shadowy horrors beyond anything they have ever faced before. “Crimson Shore” is a roller-coast page-turner that will keep even the most jaded reader up till the wee hours of the night. Its final mystery is one we never saw coming and one we will never forget. Kudos to Preston and Child for this masterful series that shows no signs of plot fatigue yet. And in this day and age, that’s saying quite a lot.