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Gideon's Corpse Hardcover – January 10, 2012
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The second Gideon Crew novel is definitely smoother than Gideon’s Sword (2011). The character’s substantial backstory was laid out in detail in the first book but is only briefly summarized here, allowing the authors to jump right into the story, in which Gideon, the former art thief and nuclear researcher turned secret agent, must try to defuse an explosive terrorist plot before time runs out. Gideon, an engaging fellow from the get-go, lives up to his initial promise, demonstrating an intelligence and resourcefulness that should endear him to adventure fans. He’s no Special Agent Pendergast, hero of Preston and Child’s better-known series—he lacks the subtlety and the air of mystery—but he’s a solid action hero. The first novel was a sort of shakedown cruise as the authors tried out a new character. If this follow-up is any indication, it should be smooth sailing from here on. --David Pitt
"The action zigzags like an out-of-control rocket toward a double-deceptive conclusion."―Kirkus Reviews
"Gideon, an engaging fellow from the get-go, lives up to his initial promise, demonstrating an intelligence and resourcefulness that should endear him to adventure fans."―Booklist
"Like Michael Crichton, Preston and Child weave their stories at a thrilling pace...Preston and Child never fail to entertain. And GIDEON'S CORPSE is a thriller that ranks high among their many co-authored offerings to date."―BookReporter.com
"Preston and Child deliver a tight, literate thriller...The writing is fast-paced and cinematic."―New Mexico Magazine
"Ever timely and provocative, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have given us yet another one of their taut page-turners in GIDEON'S CORPSE...The issue is never if he'll escape, but how. It's the thrill of the ride that counts, and GIDEON'S CORPSE gives the reader a front seat."
"A rollicking tour-de-force. The eponymous Gideon Crew would be equally comfortable smack in a Ludlum tempest or striding onto the set of the Ocean's Eleven franchise. Preston and Child have crafted an electrifying, riveting thriller on which I could continue to heap praise, but instead I will just offer this: Read the book! And we can all look forward to the next appearance of Mr. Gideon Crew in the not-so-distant future."―David Baldacci on Gideon's Sword
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I liked Gideon's character more in this book than I did in the last one. We learn more about his past as an art thief, which helps explain his masterful skill at disguise and voice alteration. Also, his relationship with a new FBI partner, Stone Fordyce, helps flesh out his personality a bit. I liked the way they worked together - Fordyce's by-the-book dryness contrasts well with Gideon's rebelliousness. On a less positive note, the "wiseass" thing is still a bit annoying to me - Gideon seems to make wisecracks at all the wrong moments, and they're never particularly witty. There's also a romantic element to the novel that stretches credibility a bit too much - it's rather amusing how the authors manage to get their characters naked at the most inopportune of times (the romance is actually the weakest part of the novel - never once did I believe it). And Mr. Preston and Mr. Child, please come up with another trademark expression for Gideon - the "sink me" thing just doesn't fly.
Ultimately, GIDEON'S CORPSE will work for you if you can suspend disbelief enough to buy into the story, which is a conspiracy theorist's dream. The biggest problem I had with it is how little the events that are unfolding (a threatened nuclear strike in a major US city, the decimation of the stock market, mass panic and exodus from major cities, etc.) seem to affect the world of the novel. We hear some of what's happening through a radio report Gideon hears during a cross-country road trip, but none of it ever seems real. Stores are still open, gas stations are still selling gas, everyone's still going to work - it all seems too much like business as usual. Just think how things were in the aftermath of 9/11 - I don't get that at all in this novel, and that's a shame. Beyond that, you have to accept the many, many coincidences that help Gideon (who has no training in espionage at all) do what the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA can't - save the world from certain disaster. No one else can do it, but Gideon Crew can. If you look at it as a fantasy story, it works better.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel enough to consider reading the next one. It's all very "Mission Impossible," I guess - an episodic story that would make a good TV series. The ending of GIDEON'S CORPSE takes a direction I had not anticipated, which is a plus (although it's not something that can withstand too much thought - none of it makes much sense). GIDEON'S CORPSE is not up there with any of Preston & Child's masterpieces, but it's a serviceable read for a cold winter afternoon.
If the first Gideon book was a transcription of DIE HARD then this one is a Keystone Kops version (and I found it hilarious that the "authors" actually referenced the KK's in the book).
The plot is so thin it is transparent. The characters aren't even sturdy enough to be called "cardboard." More like rice paper. And ANY time a writer uses sound effects to convey a point you know you're in trouble. WHAP WHAP WHAP. Yes, they actually WROTE that into the story. WHAP WHAP WHAP
Their writing over the years, both together and individually, has been uneven. This one scrapes the bottom of the barrel.
If you're looking for a decent action yard I highly recommend James Rollins who's work has steadily improved over the years to the point I no longer have to refer to his novels as a guilty pleasure.