Readers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's previous Pendergast novels will be happy that the Helen Pendergast Trilogy beginning with Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance concludes with this latest offering entitled, "Two Graves." Those expecting the authors to change tack and create a novel that doesn't suspend belief more than occasionally, doesn't repeatedly describe their strange, competent and death-defying protagonist as "the man in black," doesn't move the larger story ahead for beloved repeat characters and doesn't link odd factoids together to connect the dots in a way that juxtaposes suppositional conspiracy theories with paranormal activity do not want to read a Pendergast novel.
In "Two Graves," Preston and Child deliver the expected: an entertaining romp through different parts of the world where deep, dark skeletons are uncovered and diabolical control freaks engineer humans and creatures to forward their agenda. Wearing his white hat proudly, is the man in black: the super cognitive Aloysius Pendergast--his fellow deputies Vincent D'Agosta, Constance Greene and Corrie Swanson are ready and willing to do his bidding no matter how illegal, outlandish or dangerous the request. Solving the mystery behind Pendergast's wife's so-called death spurs our favorite FBI agent on literarily from the last pages of "Cold Vengeance" to rescue his loved one and uncover the "why" behind the actions of the neo-Nazi group called the Conclave. Without revealing any of the crucial plot twists or their resolutions, suffice it to say that Pendergast will be surprised yet again by his wife's history and the reason behind all the clandestine activities.
The secondary stories spin off in other directions as Dr. Felder looks into Constance's past and a compromised Corrie Swanson takes refuge with her estranged father. As this reviewer listened to this novel as an audiobook--actor Rene Auberjonois does as fine a job of narrating "Graves" as he does with all the Pendergast books on audio--the breaks in the Pendergast-related action did not come with any exclamations of "Oh, No," or twinges of disappointment. As with the other Preston and Child novels, the secondary players and their side stories are cultivated to provide necessary backdrops to future happenings in already conceived future novels. What fun! If only Preston and Child would resurrect the incorrigible Bill Smithback! All the Pendergast novels are perfect to listen to while exercising as their fast-paced action motivates the reader to keep calm and carry on.
Bottom line? "Two Graves" is the next episode in the saga of one of popular literatures most enigmatic characters: Aloysius Pendergast. Despite some occurrences and coincidences that stress the reader's patience at times, the novel completes the Helen Trilogy and brings new hope into the wily FBI agent's life with the same frenetic momentum of the other books featuring him. The lives of Corrie Swanson and Constance Greene are further explored with new ground laid for future adventures and revelations. Recommended for all Pendergast fans. Diana Faillace Von Behren "reneofc"
Pendergast is finally re-united with his wife Helen for a "few seconds" before she is kidnapped. This starts a tense and heart pounding chase by Pendergast to rescue her. Later we see Pendergast fall to the lowest emotional depths of his life and none of his friends (Vincent, Laura, Viola) can do much to get him out of his funk. As Pendergast is wrestling with his demons, a serial killer tabbed the "hotel killer," is killing hotel guests and leaving weird clues … more
For twelve years, he believed she died in an accident. Then, he was told she'd been murdered. Now, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast discovers that his beloved wife Helen is alive. But their reunion is cut short when Helen is brazenly abducted before his eyes. And Pendergast is forced to embark on a furious cross-country chase to rescue her. But all this turns out to be mere prologue to a far larger plot: one that unleashes a chillingly-almost supernaturally-adept serial killer on New York City. And Helen has one more surprise in store for Pendergast: a piece of their shared past that makes him the one man most suited to hunting down the killer. His pursuit of the murderer will take Pendergast deep into the trackless forests of South America, to a hidden place where the evil that has blighted both his and Helen's lives lies in wait . . . a place where he will learn all too well the truth of the ancient proverb: Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.