Thursday, December 5, 2013

White Fire

by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
368 pgs  (Pendergast series #13)

This is the type of Pendergast book I've been wishing for for quite some time. The past several books by Preston and Child have revolved around the enigmatic FBI special agent, and in my opinion, while he's an interesting character, the books that have been about him have been less entertaining than those that are about an intriguing case he's investigating. White Fire is a return to form for Preston and Child and it's a welcome return in my opinion.

Corrie Swanson was introduced into the series a few books back as a side character whom Pendergast had taken under his wing and was mentoring. This time she takes center stage as she travels to the mountainous town of Roaring Fork, Colorado to work on her thesis. She's studying criminal justice and has learned that the remains of several miners reportedly killed and eaten by a bear back in the 1870's, have been exhumed from a cemetery which is being replaced by a multi-million dollar development. A study of periomortem trauma on human bones by a large carnivore has never been conducted before and Corrie sees this as a chance to make a name for herself.

Corrie is initially given access to the miners' remains and a quick examination of them reveals some disturbing evidence that contradicts the claim that the miners were eaten by a bear, but her access is quickly rescinded as the developers surprisingly step in and start throwing their weight around and Corrie ultimately ends up in jail. Pendergast travels to Roaring Fork to save her and realizes that there's a connection between the deaths of the miners and a rumored lost Sherlock Holmes story written by A. Conan Doyle.

Pendergast and Corrie soon find that Corrie's investigation threatens to uncover a long-buried secret that powerful individuals would rather keep hidden. It's a secret that Doyle was told of in 1889 and one that disturbed him so much that he eventually incorporated it into a case for his famous detective to solve. Pendergast has to find that story in order to unearth the truth behind what's been happening in Roaring Fork while trying to protect Corrie from those who would like to bury her along with their secret.

White Fire is a return to form for Preston and Child. For me it reinvigorated the series and hopefully is an indication of the direction it will be going in the future.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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