This month’s book was arguably one of the most challenging I’ve read so far. It’s level of detail, vocabulary and length greatly surpassed every other novel I have reviewed in the past year. Luckily, I managed to finish it just in time to share it as October’s book review, which is appropriate, given it is a paranormal mystery.
With Halloween just around the corner, stories of ghosts, ghouls and other creepy crawlies that go bump in the night take center stage. The novel we will be reviewing focuses on a string of strange murders which appear to be done by a demonic presence. It is entitled Brimstone, and is from the authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
The story follows the investigation of FBI Special Agent Pendergast, and police officers Vincent D'Agosta and Laura Hayward, on a case that defies all but supernatural logic. The smoldering remains of art critic are found in the locked attic of a Hamptons estate, the choking stench of brimstone in the air and a hoofprint burned into the floorboards. The gruesome scene seems to hint at the consequences that befall those who make a pact with the devil.
Intent on finding a more logical explanation, Pendergrast’s investigation lead him from New York City to the Italian countryside. The mystery deepens when he discovers that thirty years before, the path of the four victims had crossed, when they performed a ceremony to summon unspeakable forces. The FBI agent must now determine if this is the devil coming collect his due, or something else all together.
Back of the Book
Art critic Jeremy Grove is found dead, his face frozen in a mask of terror. His body temperature is grotesquely high; he is discovered in a room barricaded from the inside; the smell of brimstone is everywhere... and the unmistakable imprint of a claw is burned into the wall. As more bodies are discovered - their only connection the bizarre but identical manner of death - the world begins to wonder if the Devil has, in fact, come to collect his due.
Teaming with Police Officer Vincent D'Agosta (The Relic), Agent Pendergast is determined to solve this case that appears to defy everything except supernatural logic.
What I learned
- Vocabulary: One of the things that struck me was the vocabulary’s level throughout the book. The use of this vocabulary was not just to tell the story, but help convey the level of intelligence of the character Pendergrast.
- Secondary character PoV: Though Pendergrast was the main investigator in this book, not once was the story told through his point view. Rather, the story is told either through his associates, or his adversaries. This allows the writer to surprise the readers with Pendergrast’s elaborate schemes, by not revealing his plans before hand.
- Accomplices as a plot tool: One of the ways the main antagonist succeeds in avoiding detection, is by using an accomplice to prove his innocence. Either as an alibi or as a tool to perform tasks in their stead. Though I had seen this done before, it was the first time I saw it used in a book, and thought it was clever.
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are coauthors of several bestselling novels, such as "Relic," "Mount Dragon," and "Reliquary". Preston’s bestselling book, "The Monster of Florence," is being made into a major motion picture. Lincoln Child is a former book editor with four bestselling novels of his own.
For those interested in reading more books from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, please check out the following websites and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:
In closing, I would like to thank my new boss Nancy for lending me this books and for the tremendous amount of encouragement everyone has shown me since I started my journey.
Until next time!