My blood alone remains. Take it, but don't let me suffer long.
Preston and Child have another great entry in the Pendergast series, and redeem themselves from the mess that was The Pharaoh Key.
Pendergast's longtime boss at the FBI's New York office, Longstreet, has died. Now Pendergast must deal with a new boss, Pickett, who is on the fast-track because of his ability to organize and encourage, but he sees Pendergast as a maverick who must either return to the fold or be banished to the hinterlands of FBIdom. Of course, that means teaming Pendergast up with an outward polar-opposite in Agent Coldmoon, a casual dressing Oglala Sioux. It appears that Pickett's plan is to give Pendergast enough rope to hang himself by.
This time Pedergast is sent to Miami to deal with "Mister Brokenhearts," a cold-blooded killer who leaves freshly removed hearts and letters of remorse on the headstones of a series of unrelated suicides.
As usual, the authors plow full-speed-ahead on the plot. And I have to say, that they surprised me a couple of times. I thought they were going to take the easy way out, but they didn't. Several story lines begin to converge and there are one or two plot twists I never saw coming. Preston and Child also throw us several side-characters who appear to be perfect fodder for the killer, and based off of past novels, I was just waiting to see who took an ax to the chest. Now you'll have to find out for yourself. I also liked how they played the Pickett angle. Let's just say he's not what he first appears to be.
I have read several novels lately that would never be considered "the canon" but have used poetic and literary devices to great effect and this is no exception. From the quote above, attributed to Marie Antoinette, to the letters left on the graves, each of which uses a reference to a work of literature, including Ian McEwan's Atonement, the authors use literature to not only define the unknown killer but to set the tone of the novel, where two men of different backgrounds find commonality by sharing quotes and sayings that create a kind of shorthand for friendship and trust.
I took a star off for overplaying Pendergast's wealth. It's almost as though they felt that since he didn't have his Rolls and wasn't home in his mansion, they had to make sure everyone understood just how wealthy Pendergast is. We got it. I don't need to know about his "especially fine" hat. There was also one line of dialogue that pulled me right out of the book's atmosphere. Pickett says "I want you to accept my condolences on the death of Howard Longstreet." Hmmm... Do people say such things? "I want you to accept my condolences" instead of "I want to offer my condolences"? It was just odd.
Overall, if you like this series I don't think you'll be disappointed with this entry.