Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Grand Central, Aug 2 2011, $26.99
In Cairn Barrow, Scotland Special Agent Pendergast and his brother-in-law Esterhazy go stag hunting. However, nether of them hunt deer, but each other. Pendergast seeks revenge against Esterhazy for murdering his wife Helen (see Fever Dream). As Pendergast traps his adversary he asks why he killed his sister just as a stag assaults the agent; giving Esterhazy the chance to shoot his adversary in the chest and explain he did not kill his sibling as Helen lives. Esterhazy leaves his friend to die as he calls the constabulary to report the accident. Inspector Balfour leads the search, but no human corpse is found.
Pendergast no longer seeks Cold Vengeance as now he searches for Helen, but is confused over her role in the duplicity of her death; unless his in-law lied. He returns to New York from the moors, but the clues take him to the bayous where increasingly he wonders whether Helen arranged her death and how little he really knew her as Pendergast begins to uncover secrets his wife hid from him.
The second Pendergast’s Helen inquiry is a great thriller that is loaded with action from the first hunting confrontation to the climax that ends with a cliffhanger setup for the finish. The taut story line is fast-paced and filled with twists that hook the audience. However the hero makes the tale as he will remind readers of Liam Neeson in Taken with his determination to rescue Helen if she is alive. Suspenseful, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child provide the best middle book of a trilogy in recent memory.