Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Special Agent Pendergast returns in a new thriller with personal ramifications. Twelve years earlier, he watched in horror as his wife was mauled and killed by a lion in the African veldt. Now, while digging through stuff in his Louisiana home, he stumbles on the rifle that she had with her that fateful day and discovers that it had been loaded with blanks. Pendergast quickly enlists his friend Lieutenant D'Agosta to help him uncover a crafty murderer. Their journey will unveil terrible secrets his wife kept from Pendergast during their marriage and an obsession she had with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon. VERDICT This is no dream; it's the authors' best book in years. Pendergast has to rein in his feelings to pay attention to the details, and it's fun to see the role reversal between him and the usually emotional D'Agosta. Not to be missed by either newcomers or die-hard fans. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Preston and Child up the emotional ante considerably in their 10th thriller featuring brilliant and eccentric FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after Cemetery Dance), one of the best in the series. For 12 years, Pendergast has believed that the death of his wife, Helen, in the jaws of a ferocious red-maned lion in Zambia was just a tragedy, but his chance examination of the gun she carried on the fateful day reveals that someone loaded it with blanks. Pendergast drags his longtime NYPD ally, Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, into a leave of absence that includes travel to Africa as well as the American South. The motive for Helen's murder appears to be linked to her fascination with John James Audubon and her quest for a mysterious lost Audubon painting. Once again, the bestselling authors show they have few peers at creating taut scenes of suspense. Their restraint in the book's early sections make the payoffs all the more compelling. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
*Starred Review* If a movie were made from the latest Special Agent Pendergast novel, the tagline might read: This time, it's personal. Twelve years ago, in Africa, Pendergast's wife was mauled to death by a lion after she shot at it and missed. Now, in the present day, Pendergast makes the startling discovery that his wife's gun was loaded with blanks. He enlists the aid of his old friend, New York City cop Vincent D'Agosta, to help him track down the people responsible for his wife's death and mete out some very personal justice. The Pendergast novels, beginning with 1995's Relic, are uniformly excellent, although they have grown steadily darker and more elegantly written. Singly, both authors turn out solid stand-alone thrillers, but together they reach an entirely different level, achieving a stylistic grace and thematic resonance neither has so far matched alone. This may be the best of the Pendergast novels, if for no other reason than we are permitted to see the man beneath the cold, steely exterior. For fans of the earlier novels, a definite must-read.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Another moody Agent Pendergast novel from powerhouse duo Preston and Child (The Book of the Dead, 2006, etc.). When quirky but brilliant FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast's wife Helen was killed in Africa many years ago by a lion, no one had any reason to suspect foul play. Although she was an excellent shot, she'd only had time to get one shot off before the beast was upon her, and even the best marksperson misses occasionally. Twelve years later, while examining the gun she'd used on the day she died, Pendergast discovers that someone had loaded her rifle with a blank. Her death hadn't been an accident after all. He vows to do everything in his power to avenge his wife's death, and, being Pendergast, his power is considerable. He again enlists the help of his usual Watson, the NYPD's Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, and the two set out for Africa, where Pendergast's suspicions are quickly confirmed. Soon, the clues lead them back to New Orleans, Pendergast's hometown, and they learn that Helen had secretly been pursuing a missing transitional painting by John James Audubon. But why? And why spend so much time and energy to keep the search a secret, even from her husband? As the duo close in on the answer, they discover that someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep them from the truth. Preston and Child are at their best when immersing the reader in the dank, dark atmosphere of the bayous and swamps of rural Louisiana, where much of the novel is set. Pendergast, beloved by fans and described by the authors in a note to readers as "the world's most enigmatic FBI agent," can be a bit much, occasionally coming across as a set of eccentricities rather than a living, breathing character. Still, readers of previous Pendergast novels will welcome this installment starring the exceedingly peculiar FBI Special Agent. Stylish, dark and tense.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.