Fans of cerebral action adventure novels know that, outside of Michael Crichton, no one delivers the goods like the veteran writing team of Preston and Child (Relic;Still Life with Crows; etc.). As if invigorated by their recent solo efforts (Child:Utopia, etc.; Preston:The Codex, etc.), the two now deliver their best novel ever, an extravagant tale of international intrigue. As their admirers know, one reason Preston and Child thrillers work is because most feature arguably the most charismatic detective in contemporary fiction: FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a wealthy, refined yet ruthless descendant of Holmes who's very much his own character. Pendergast, as well as other Preston and Child semiregulars, notably rough-hewn former NYPD cop Vincent D'Agosta, Watson to Pendergast's Sherlock, tread nearly every page of this vastly imagined, relentlessly enjoyable thriller. The body of a notorious art critic is found in his Hamptons, L.I., mansion, wholly burned, with a cloven hoofprint nearby: the devil's work? [...] Erudite, swiftly paced, brimming (occasionally overbrimming) with memorable personae and tense set pieces, this is the perfect thriller to stuff into a beach bag.
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