cover image City of Endless Night

City of Endless Night

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Grand Central, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3694-8

Why would a killer decapitate his victims? That’s one of the puzzles Preston and Child pose for their eccentric FBI agent with expensive tastes, Aloysius Pendergast, and his loyal NYPD ally, Lt. Cmdr. Vincent D’Agosta, in the lackluster 17th entry in this bestselling series (after 2016’s The Obsidian Chamber). In Kew Gardens, Queens, two boys stumble on a headless woman in a garage. Fingerprinting identifies the body as that of Grace Ozmian, the missing 23-year-old daughter of tech billionaire Anton Ozmian. Before much traction can be made on Grace’s case, more people are murdered and decapitated, including a prosecutor turned mob lawyer and a Russian oligarch. There’s no obvious motive for the killings, and D’Agosta feels pressure from New York City’s mayor to come up with answers. Though the minimization of Pendergast’s complex backstory makes this entry more accessible to newcomers, the authors fail to generate their usual high level of suspense. The climax will strike fans as too familiar. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Jan.)