From Publishers Weekly
This latest Preston and Child thriller, even in abbreviated form, offers gore galore, mutilations, bizarre ritual murders, an obstreperous sheriff, a young woman in jeopardy, a town consumed by terror and a spooky local legend-in short, an abundance of traditional suspense novel ingredients. Compensating for this apparent lack of imagination is the thriller's remarkable hero, Special Agent Pendergast, who's on leave from the FBI. This somewhat ethereal, cerebral specialist in macabre murders is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Mulder of The X-Files, but with his courtly Southern manner and combat expertise, he's very much his own man. Narrator Auberjonois, a familiar stage and screen presence, uses an appropriately silky accent and a playfully sarcastic tone for Pendergast. Auberjonois is equally successful with the other characters, especially the hard-headed but good-hearted Sheriff Dent Hazen, who emerges as a Wilfred Brimley minus the bluster; 18-year-old town rebel Corrie Swanson; and the killer, whose method of communication would challenge any vocal interpreter. Equally important, Auberjonois narrates the tale with the sort of mesmerizing intensity that can, and does, turn a fairly familiar yarn into a scary campfire chillfest.
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The authors of such hits as Relic
(1992) and The Cabinet of Curiosities
[BKL Je 1 & 15 02] bring back Special Agent Pendergast, the FBI man whose slightly archaic dialogue, unique mode of dress, and seemingly endless array of esoteric facts make him a fascinating lead character. This time out Pendergast is in Medicine Creek, Kansas, a small town that appears to be home to its very own serial killer. The novel begins with a gruesome murder, after which we're introduced to wily Sheriff Dent Hazen, a man who doesn't take kindly to out-of-towners investigating crimes on his turf. Just as we're getting to know Hazen, the pace kicks into high gear, with more bodies and a full-tilt investigation. As usual, Preston and Child deftly mix the real and the surreal, creating an atmosphere in which everything, for reasons we can't quite nail down, seems a tad off-kilter. Call it creeping paranoia, perhaps, or the dreadful certainty that something awful is about to happen. Whatever you call it, it's a recipe for success. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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