BLUE LABYRINTH by Douglas Preston

BLUE LABYRINTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Preston and Child (White Fire, 2013, etc.) return with another adventure for modern crime fiction’s most esoteric detective, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast.

Badged by the FBI but given free rein, wealthy as a wizard Wall Street trader, intelligent enough to make Mensa members feel inferior, master of exotic Chongg Ran meditation, Pendergast, “skin as pale as marble, eyes like silver conchas,” shoulders his custom 1911 Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special .45 and sets out to find the killer who deposited his estranged son, Alban, dead on his Manhattan mansion’s doorstep. Alban is autopsied, and an exotic turquoise is found in his stomach. At the American Museum of Natural History, Pendergast consults an expert gemologist—worth reading if buying turquoise—and heads for California’s Salton Sea in search of the Golden Spider Mine, all while giving only passing notice to a museum murder under investigation by his friend Lt. Vincent D’Agosta. So begins Pendergast’s deconstruction of a deadly conspiracy originating with patent medicine and ending with bizarre battles—triflic acid, poison darts and Sumatran buckthorn as weapons—at the museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A Pendergast ancestor, Hezekiah, built the family’s fortune on an elixir that ultimately left users with ALS- or Huntingon’s Disease–like symptoms. Now the villain is spurred by epigenetic changes wrought on users’ descendants by “Hezekiah’s Compound Elixir and Glandular Restorative.” Pendergast visits exotic climes for clues, and the authors offer sparkling descriptions—the Salton Fontainebleau is a “fantastical cross between a Chinese temple and an Asbury Park amusement parlor.” Constance Greene and other familiar characters appear, and Pendergast learns a startling truth about Alban, whose warped psyche had once wrought havoc. 

Great character-driven crime fiction—readers new to the series won’t be entirely lost, and Pendergast patrons will be thoroughly satisfied.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4555-2589-8
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014




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Kirkus Interview
Douglas Preston
January 2, 2017

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God—but then committed suicide without revealing its location. Three quarters of a century later, bestseller Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is his account of the expedition. “A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary—trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

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