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Brimstone
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Adult/High School-As FBI Special Agent Pendergast immerses himself in the investigation of an art critic's bizarre murder, he conjures up clues pointing to the Devil as the culprit. After several killings in the same ghastly manner, similar clues are found. Pendergast teams up with Police Officer Vincent D'Agosta, with whom he had worked in The Relic (St. Martin's, 1996), and they begin a lengthy, intense, and time-driven search for the murderer. Along the way, D'Agosta becomes romantically and professionally attached to New York Police Captain Laura Hayward (Reliquary [Tor, 1998]). Their story runs parallel to the investigation and adds another layer of plot. The peculiar nature of Agent Pendergast, who always seems to get out of any kind of dire straits, complements and contrasts with down-to-earth, practical D'Agosta, and they act as catalysts for one another. The action moves from New York City to Italy and places in between. The authors are especially adept at creepy descriptions of eerily spooky castle ruins, crypts, and grave robberies. Readers who like ghost stories, hauntings, and other paranormal activities will find themselves eagerly engaged in this page-turner.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Brimstone, claw prints, and stifling heat- looks as if the Devil is behind the latest string of murders investigated by Relic agent Pendergast. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Fans of cerebral action adventure novels know that, outside of Michael Crichton, no one delivers the goods like the veteran writing team of Preston and Child (Relic; Still Life with Crows; etc.). As if invigorated by their recent solo efforts (Child: Utopia, etc.; Preston: The Codex, etc.), the two now deliver their best novel ever, an extravagant tale of international intrigue. As their admirers know, one reason Preston and Child thrillers work is because most feature arguably the most charismatic detective in contemporary fiction: FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a wealthy, refined yet ruthless descendant of Holmes who's very much his own character. Pendergast, as well as other Preston and Child semiregulars, notably rough-hewn former NYPD cop Vincent D'Agosta, Watson to Pendergast's Sherlock, tread nearly every page of this vastly imagined, relentlessly enjoyable thriller. The body of a notorious art critic is found in his Hamptons, L.I., mansion, wholly burned, with a cloven hoofprint nearby: the devil's work? Similar killings ensue among a group of maleficent bigwigs who, as college students, once gathered in Florence for a mysterious reason. Also at that gathering was the charming yet sinister Italian Count Fosco, a wonderful character whom the authors have borrowed, with due credit, from Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White. In time Agent Pendergast ties Fosco into the killings, as well as a plot to equip the Chinese with devastating weapons and a parallel plot to recover a legendary Stradivarius violin. Erudite, swiftly paced, brimming (occasionally overbrimming) with memorable personae and tense set pieces, this is the perfect thriller to stuff into a beach bag. (Aug. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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