First off let me say that I think that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, both separately and when working on tandem, are two of the best thriller writers currently working today. They write smart, tense novels full of historic and scientific erudition with clockwork precision and gripping plots. I heartily suggest reading anything of theirs that you can get your hands on.
They are probably most well-known for the Pendergast novels, a series of books featuring the idiosyncratic FBI Agent and a marvelous cast of supporting characters. Blue Labyrinth is the latest book in that series. It’s as good as the rest, just so that you know.
I have been reading the Pendergast books since the very first one, Relic, and while they are almost all stand-alone books I suggest reading them in order, just because it’s wonderful to watch two masters take a group of characters and a concept, and run with it. If you want to know how much I think of this series I would simply say that Pendergast is the modern Sherlock Holmes. He is very different from Conan Doyle’s legendary hero, but is every bit as interesting.
Now as I said earlier these novels are marvels of plotting which makes them devilishly difficult to review without giving out a ton of spoilers.
The Blue Labyrinth finds Pendergast caught up in a fiendishly complex mystery that involves his very strange and rather twisted family history, and a sinister government contractor out for revenge, and a whodunit style murder at a museum. There are also crooked cops, secret organizations, the Brazilian mob, and as always tons of science and history, are delivered in a style both smart and economical.
All of the events are connected, of course, and it’s wonderfully absorbing watching Pendergast, and the cast of supporting characters connect the dots. All of the characters, from Detective D’ Agosta to Margo Green, to the new characters, are all spot-on. Most riveting is the expanded role of Constance Greene, the enigmatic ward of Pendergast. She plays a large role in this book, and is simply wonderful. Always smart, cultured and mysterious, we find that in Blue Labyrinth that she is deadly as well. Near the books end she, Green, and D’Agosta are all wrapped up in a dizzying finale of mystery and violence that had me flipping pages like crazy.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Constance get a book or two of her own. She is that interesting of a character, and that is one of the ways that you can recognize the merit of these books. Nearly every character seems like they have a whole story and we are just waiting for the authors to get around to telling it. So in case you can’t tell, get The Blue Labyrinth, and then go get the rest of the books written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Then read them.
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