cover image The Scorpion’s Tail: A Nora Kelly Novel

The Scorpion’s Tail: A Nora Kelly Novel

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Grand Central, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4727-8

Bestsellers Preston and Child’s enjoyable sequel to 2019’s Old Bones takes FBI special agent Corrie Swanson, who studied forensic anthropology, to New Mexico after a mummified male corpse is found in a ghost town on federal land—and a trespasser shot at the sheriff investigating the scene. When Swanson arrives, she decides to ask Nora Kelly, a senior curator at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, for help unearthing the remains, which are in an unusual fetal position, so that any evidence of the man’s death having been caused by foul play remains intact. Kelly reluctantly agrees to assist, and finds a solid gold, jewel-encrusted cross on the body, dating to the Spanish colonial period. That discovery suggests a connection between the dead man, who appears to have perished in the 1940s, and recurrent legends of a treasure trove of riches hidden somewhere in the area. The authors do their usual solid job of maintaining suspense throughout. Their two capable female leads are well-suited to sustain a long series. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Jan.)