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3.0 out of 5 starsGood Plot Is NOT Enough!
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2021
I originally gave this a 4, but after thinking about it, it's only worth a 3--maybe. The plot's okay, but-----the ending sucks!!! Once again, in the last 2 chapters Agent Pendergast shows up deux ex machina--and the author ADMITS IT!-- to solve everything!! What, he doesn't think the two FEMALE protagonists are smart enough??? Apparently not, as he did the same thing in the first story. And as for those two: they're okay, but not as smart as they should be given their backgrounds and careers. Nora Kelly is an archeologist in New Mexico. Okay, so her speciality seems to be old Indian ruins, but she should have at least read up on the area and known it was where Geronimo allegedly "surrendered." If she had, she could've come up with the solution Pendergast so arrogantly announced. As for Corrie, she totally missed Nora's warning about the telephone, a warning she had given to Nora only a few hours earlier. Had she caught it, the general and his partners would have also been caught. Okay, so the story would've ended--that part at least--right there, but there's no excuse for her not at least peeking through the windows to scope things out instead of walking right up to the door and knocking!!! A similar thing happened in the first story. So once again, the females did all the work and the male solved it!! After writing this, I've decided to remove both stories from my Kindle and I won't be buying more
5.0 out of 5 starsNora Kelly And Corrie Swanson Sure Do Get Around ......
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2021
...the deserts and mountains of New Mexico once again. Fresh from an excavation of the ill-fated Donner Party in the novel "Old Bones" (Nora Kelly Book One), Corrie and Nora come to an uneasy agreement to team up once again to investigate the case of a mummy found buried in sand in an almost pristine ghost town hidden in the mountains.
"The Scorpion's Tail" continues the development of a working relationship between a new FBI Special Agent (Corrie) and an accomplished forensic archeologist (Nora) as Corrie is demoted to what appears to be a boring case after her marksmanship skills fail miserably while in her first hostage situation. She calls on Nora while she is deeply involved in a complicated excavation of a small Pueblo cave dwelling many miles away. Rather than an urban and sublime environment that Special Agent Pendergast typically works in, these two young ladies are partnered up in a "rough and ready" situation.
This scenario was very similar to the novel "Tularosa" which was written by Michael McGarrity back in 1996. I am familiar with this novel because it was McGarrity's first novel and I ordered and read it in November of 2020 while laid up from another surgery. Surprisingly both "Tularosa" and "The Scorpion's Tail" dealt with the high deserts and formidable mountains of New Mexico, the White Sands Missile Range, the involvement of U.S. Army personnel, the discovery, looting and sale of illegally sourced Indian/Spanish artifacts, and a complicated plot that needed several close looks to discover the keys to unwinding them.
Preston and Child have once again presented their readers with a complicated plot that slowly branches out from the discovery of the mummified body. What initially is considered to be a case to determine the cause of death of this unfortunate individual turns into a really quick moving mystery thriller filled with "out of the box" thinking and old Western gunfights. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are one of the few partnerships in writing who are able to concoct and deliver a complicated story that can continue to misdirect their readers until that missing thread becomes apparent and can be pulled on until the whole sweater finally unwinds. While not as chilly and dreary as most of their early works, now they are out in the sun and seem to be enjoying it.
1.0 out of 5 starsAn Adventure in Political Correctness
Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2021
I usually love the work of these two authors and have read every book of the Pendergast series, Sadly, they have taken an interesting character, Corrie Swanson, who 1st appeared as the angst-filled Pendergast side kick in Still Life with Crows, and turned her into a boring, humorless FBI Agent who is a crusader in the now, very fashionable, but exhausting trope of Strong, Courageous Women Heroically Fighting Male Sexism. I kept expecting a gang of Bernie Bros to show up in the desert where this takes place, throwing chairs at her. I highly recommend passing on this book. It was low brow and I personally found it insultingly contrived. In addition, there are huge sections of the story where literally nothing is happening. I found myself repeatedly asking, "Why do I care? Why amI still reading this?"
5.0 out of 5 starsAlmost beyond excellent (spoilers)
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2021
Our 2nd favorite FBI agent is back with a real roller-coaster ride. New faces, old faces, almost nonstop action. Very interesting tie-in to a very important historical event. Sounds good, and was good, except for the ending. I was already celebrating that she’s standing on her own and proving herself, but then our favorite FBI agent walzes in uninvited, unannounced and dare I say it, unwanted. That did not only take the wind out of her sails, but the sails, rigging and masts, too. Still, except for the ending, the book was so good that I can’t round down to 4 stars.
5.0 out of 5 starsFantastic Next Book for Corrie and Nora
Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2021
Nora really ought to have learned not to agree to help out Corrie. Followers of these characters know that mixing FBI procedure with archeological mystery can only mean both of their proscribed worlds will be turned upside down, and challenged. Corrie is on the next step of her training as an FBI rookie, however bright, assigned to the Albuquerque field office. Nora believes that she is in line for an immediate promotion at the museum. Both are fighting for their future.
This adventure takes the reader from the halls of government bureaucracy to hard to reach mining ghost towns to the grounds of the White Sands Military Reserve and the site of the infamous Trinity nuclear test. Native people are well represented in both historic and contemporary context. Grave looters get their due. There are shoot outs - after all, this is set in the old west. But at the heart of is an intriguing mystery that begins with a 70 year old grave with a body in both odd condition and a contorted pose, the possibility of a hidden treasure, and also stars a cowboy sheriff.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2021
Corrie Swanson is called back in by the FBI after a man is found digging in an abandoned Gold Rush town from the 19th century-who takes a shot at the Sherriff who captures him. It's Federal land, so she's the investigating Agent-but she needs the help of a professional archaeologist to uncover the human remains found.
So she calls Nora Kelly, who is willing if busy, but able to rearrange her schedule, despite issues at the university she works for. However: the man, it turns out, has suffered a unique cause of death relating to being found near White Sands military base. The kind of unique that creates questions which MUST be answered.
Which leads them onto the trail of a vastly different ancient mystery, which may answer a question most think is part of the mythology of the area. But they are not the only one's looking...
The authors do an excellent job of showing how the work and research done leads Corrie and Nora along the trail to answers. They also have fun with a cowboy Sheriff who, it turns out, doesn't need the most modern firearms to do his job. They manage to portray infighting within the FBI as well as Corrie's boss Orders her to find a way to get along with people as a representative of the FBI. She does-excepting with an Evidence Response Team from the FBI itself where the senior officer is both sexist and incompetent. She verbally slaps him so hard steam nearly comes out of his ears and he comes close to punching her-but doesn't dare. I suspect she learned that one from Pendergast, who has long since developed a flawless method of insulting and dealing with anyone who gets in his way in such a way they can do nothing but be angry with him.
Oh-and Pendergast shows up in person to nearly steal the whole show, of course. Completely in keeping with his personality, he works out what's been going on before even Corrie. He even refers to Corrie as his protege.
In all honesty, I think I am starting to enjoy this series as much as the early Pendergast novels. The complicated relationship between the two women reminds me of Pendergast and D'Agosta-they click, but it's hard to see how for a while. Nora and Corrie are sliding into a friendship based on mutual respect, I believe-but neither of them seems to have realised that yet...
If you like the authors work? Read this, it's well worth the couple of days you'll loose once you get started.
5.0 out of 5 starsPreston & Child just keep getting better...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 2, 2021
Whilst the Agent Pendergast series will always be my favourite, this new series is really starting to build momentum, with characters building nicely already. As always, full of plot twists, yet somehow believable. Looking forward to the next installments already ..