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.