At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning - and dreadful - discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle - her only protection from the beast - had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?
With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. Helen Pendergast had nursed a secret obsession with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon, in particular a long-lost painting of his known as the Black Frame.
As Pendergast probes more deeply into the riddle - the answer to which is revealed in a night of shocking violence, deep in the Louisiana bayou - he finds himself faced with an even greater question: who was the woman he married?
©2010 Lincoln Child (P)2010 Hachette
"Once again, the bestselling authors show they have few peers at creating taut scenes of suspense. Their restraint in the book's early sections make the payoffs all the more compelling." (Publishers Weekly)
So good I did not want it to end. I am happy to hear it is the first of three in the "Helen" part of the Pendergast series.
Rene Auberjonois does his usual excellent job bringing Pendergast to life. A real treat.
As these Pendergast books go, I thought this was one of the best, and a book that could almost stand on its own without reading others in the series. There was none of the red herring supernatural plot twists that are in other books, and none of those annoying mind journeys. Just a ripping good mystery with lots of bad guys and swamp mud. I said that the book could almost stand on its own. There is a sub-plot involving Pendergast's ward that would not make much sense if you didn't read the previous books, but it is not crucial. If you're tired of Sherlock Holmes, it's time for Special Agent Pendergast.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
I’ve stuck with this series because I liked the characters surrounding Pendergast so much. In this first installment of three, Child and Preston give us a much overdue look into Pendergast’s past and some of his demons. We see an emotional side of him that adds depth and feeling without eroding the tremendous respect for his abilities that have built up over the years. This story opens with revelations of his past and features D’Agosta as his ever-faithful sidekick with some great twists.
This first book of the trio setup some storylines that leave open questions for resolution and some quirks that don’t seem quite right; and so I look forward for book two in the sequence. The third book is due out in December ’12, so I have waited so I could read all three in rapid succession.
In contrast to previous works where some of the plot needed leaps of faith and were salted with hokey science fiction, this novel was tight, believable and progressed at an excellent pace. There was one scene where Pendergast does a payback -- it made me smile large. You must read it just for that. If you are a fan of the series, it is a must read. If you are new to the series, you can pick this one up without a great deal of trouble but you’ll want more.
Retired bookkeeper, married, Mom of 2, two granddaughters. Love cozy mysteries.
This was my introduction to Preston & Child, and I have mixed feelings about the book. Extremely well-written, I DID listen to the entire book, mostly because I was interested in how it would end. Would I listen to another book by these authors? Hmmm. At this point in time, having just finished the book, I'd probably say no. I'm quite "picky" about what books I like. I do not care for books that assault the listener with expletives and very descriptive sex. This book has both. Yet, I must admit, NOT on every page. Actually, only one sex-scene. So, if you're reading this, and you are offended (as I am) by these things, then I'd recommend looking elsewhere. If not, and you're interested in whodunits and FBI agents, etc, you might like it. Rene Auberjonois (probably best-known as "Odo" on Star-Trek's Deep-Space Nine) is a fantastic narrator!
If you are a fan of Pendergast, you will enjoy this book. If you aren't, you won't. As usual with Preston and Child, many things happen a little to conveniently but it keeps the story moving along and lets face it, if you are reading this genre, you aren't in it for the depth. There are several twists and we get to see a more emotional, albeit still smooth, Pendergast. I agree with other reviewers who are dead sick of Constance Greene. She added nothing to this book and was just an annoyance that broke into the real plot.
Rene Auberjonois is one of my favorite narrators in this series although I still don't like the way he says Degosta. He does a great job with the accents and the pacing of the story.
I'm giving it a 4 not because it's a great piece of literature but because for what it is, it was completely enjoyable. I look forward to the next installment.
Say something about yourself!
I haven't read the print version, although I have bought it for a friend. However the audio version was fantastic.
The diversity, the intrigue.
I found Rene Auberjonois' reading of this book was captivating. His ability to distinguish between the characters was amazing.
I thought the entire book was exciting. It kept a tremendous pace, I could hardly stop listening.
You won't be disappointed. It is a great story. Right to the end.
Old Broad with Keyboard
Agent Pendergast is back again in another great adventure with spies, corruption, murder & mayhem. A little more background is revealed about the Pendergast family which just adds to the mystery! I wasn't able to turn this one off once I started listening to it. Rene Auberjonois is an excellent narrator & does a great job with all the characters. I recommend this one to everyone who loves Thrillers, Murders, Mysteries & Pendergast!
I've read several Pendergast novels, but this one was the best in my opinion. It was very exciting and moved along very quickly. I had to stop myself from fast-forwarding because I was so anxious to find out what happened!! With all of these novels, you can't let your attention wander, and it's important to pay attention to detail. The ending was priceless, and you can just imagine what's going to happen.
If you've read any of my P and C reviews you'll likely be with me or opposite of me on this one. I really enjoyed the story. There weren't any zombies or any of the otherworldly things that P and C like to write about. I read and enjoy them all but the zombies and voodoo and such tend to put me off a bit. I know that is the draw for some folks though. P and C are just such good story tellers that they probably have a wide audience range.
The police work was good, I could follow the logical deductions and they weren't highly telegraphed so I really wanted to know where the clues would lead. I liked that the setting was in the deep south rather than at the museum, which I thought was growing a little overly used. So far I am liking this story arc better than the Brimstone trilogy.
It doesn't really matter. If you read the first 9 books it's not like you're going to stop reading. I know I'm not.
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