DANCE OF DEATH by Douglas Preston


Email this review


Second in the series featuring mysterious, ultrawealthy, polymathic FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast.

Brimstone (2004) ended on an outrageous cliffhanger: Pendergast about to be torn apart by boar-hounds.Now, this round opens with a poisoned, blood-spattered discussion of The Waste Land, then moves from one bizarre comic-strip panel to the next. Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta, Watson to Pendergast’s Holmes, has moved in with Captain Laura Hayward, both NYPD, when he gets a “posthumous” note from Pendergast that tells him to take a leave of absence, use the $500,000 Pendergast has put into D’Agosta’s bank account, and stop the nameless but horrible crime about to be committed by Pendergast’s warped younger brother, Diogenes, a badly wired genius. A visit by D’Agosta to Mount Mercy Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Little Governor’s Island allows the ancient family murderess Great-aunt Cornelia Pendergast to reveal to D’Agosta that Diogenes saw his parents burned alive as Satanists by a New Orleans mob. (Satan looms large in Brimstone.) Diogenes’ hideous crime is set for January 28, a few days off, the day he’ll kill Aloysius; he’s already killed Aloysius’ two closest friends from his youth and has his eye on D’Agosta, and perhaps on Laura. More bodies drop, including that of Margo Green, a Museum of Natural History officer who helped Pendergast break an earlier case. Now, Diogenes announces, it’s time for D’Agosta to die. Pendergast decides to go to a great forensic profiler to get a fix on Diogenes. Arise, Eli Glinn, profiler supreme and for once a match for Pendergast. In an inspired chapter, Glinn’s shrink digs into Pendergast for repressed childhood memories about his brother. When the 28th arrives, Diogenes has already penetrated Pendergast’s sealed mansion on Riverside Drive. Cary Grant fans will delight in the arrival of gemologist George Kaplan (North by Northwest) while the theft of Lucifer’s Heart, the world’s greatest diamond, leads to yet another cliffhanger.

Goes down like cheddar-flavored potato chips.

Pub Date: June 14th, 2005
ISBN: 0-446-57697-2
Page count: 432pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005

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 >


FictionTHE PHARAOH KEY by Douglas Preston
by Douglas Preston
MysteryCITY OF ENDLESS NIGHT by Douglas Preston
by Douglas Preston
NonfictionTHE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD by Douglas Preston
by Douglas Preston


FictionTHE PHARAOH KEY by Douglas Preston
by Douglas Preston
MysteryCITY OF ENDLESS NIGHT by Douglas Preston
by Douglas Preston
FictionFULL WOLF MOON by Lincoln Child
by Lincoln Child