BOOK REVIEW: THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
Serial killer FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast is serving time in
solitary confinement in upstate New York’s Herkmoor Federal Correctional
Facility, a maximum security prison that no one has ever escaped from. At
the same time that the disgraced Fed assumes his adversarial brother
Diogenes set him up, the New York Museum of Natural History is trapped in
scandal, embarrassment and fabrication. The museum has been exposed by the
media concealing that dust is what has become of the priceless diamond
collection stolen by them during a less than ethical era and recently
purloined by Diogenes.
To distract the public, the museum hires archaeologist Nora Kelly and British Museum Egyptologist Dr. Adrian Wicherly to reconstruct the Tomb of Senef from artifacts in their basement. The plan is to dazzle wealthy patrons and the press especially New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr., who broke the diamond story and happens to be Nora’s spouse. Adrian realizes that the tomb's hieroglyphics include a curse of insanity on whoever besmirches it, which happens as workers and visitors become crazed murderers. FBI agent Vinnie D'Agosta frees his peer Aloysius from prison while Diogenes stands trial for murder.
Though THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is exciting and can stand alone, newcomers should first read the previous Special Agent Pendergast thrillers (see DANCE OF DEATH and BRIMSTONE) because this tale ties up the dangling participles from the previous novels. The story line is action-packed with supernatural overtones and homage to Holmes and Moriarty gripping readers from start to finish as Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child deliver a terrific thriller that never takes a breather. No one combines a cerebral (think Holmes) mystery with non-stop adventure (this team wrote RELIC) than this pair as they prove this once again.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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