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.