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Sunday, November 23, 2014


4 stars out of 5

This is, I believe, the 14th book in the series featuring FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, who loves what he does so much - and is so independently wealthy - that he accepts a "salary" of only $1 a year. Not insignificantly, this also allows him far greater latitude as he conducts crime investigations and helps him remain more than a little bit of a mysterious streak.

For the record, I've read only one other in this series - White Fire - which is the 13th. I enjoyed it very much as well, and I remain steadfast in my belief that someday - really - I'll get around to reading a few of the earlier editions. That said, the two I've read stand alone well enough that while having a more in-depth knowledge of character development over the years would be helpful, it's certainly not necessary.

This book, too, was hard to put down, resulting in much daily grousing when other chores loomed between me and my Kindle Fire. I will, however, offer my only criticism - such as it is - that the ending is a bit over-dramatic and implausible (hence 4 stars instead of 5). But when I think about it, that's to be expected in a Pendergast book.

It begins as Pendergast opens his front door to find a body "standing" there. It's not just your average old body, though - it's the body of his worse-than-evil estranged son. There are no apparent clues until an atopsy reveals an unusual piece of turquoise in his stomach; after uncovering the probable source of the stone, Pendergast travels to an abandoned mine even though he's sure the whole thing is a set-up.

A set-up it is, and what happens to him there leads him, his close friends and FBI co-workers to a long-ago Pendergast family secret that's gone seriously awry and threatens the agent's very life. More explanation would reveal too much of the story, so I'll simply say this: Another outstanding piece of work, guys!

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing, November 2014); 408 pp.

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