Cold Vengeance

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Grand Central, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-446-55498-5

By picking up the action right where Fever Dream ends off, bestsellers Preston and Child sacrifice some accessibility in their 11th thriller featuring unconventional FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast. Pendergast is still reeling from discovering that the death of his beloved wife, Helen, 12 years before from a lion attack was actually the result of a cold-blooded scheme. Desperate to learn the truth about the people behind her murder, the agent embarks on a perilous hunting expedition with her brother, Judson Esterhazy. While in the wilds of Scotland, Esterhazy tells Pendergast a surprising secret that undercuts all the agent's assumptions about what actually happened. His usual sidekick, NYPD Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, plays a more muted role than usual, but Corrie Swanson, who assisted Pendergast in Still Life with Crows, returns to help. The authors do a good job of showing the lengths Pendergast is willing to go to in his quest, but because the book reads much like the middle of a trilogy, first-timers would do well to start elsewhere in the series. (Aug.)
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