Sunday, December 1, 2013
White Fire by Preston & Child
What do an upscale ski resort, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, a carnivorous grizzly bear, serial arson, an undiscovered Sherlock Holmes story and mining operations have in common? All are ingredients in the latest rousing FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast mystery.
Corrie Swanson, a criminal justice student and Pendergast's protégé, has come to Roaring Fork, Colorado, to work on her thesis. She wants to study the historical case of a man-eating grizzly who killed eleven miners in the early days of the settlement. When she falls afoul of the law and ends up in jail, Pendergast arrives in time to save the day. Coincidentally, he arrives in time to witness a series of grisly fires, set in some of the town's biggest mansions, where the structure and those inhabiting it both are consumed by flames.
As Pendergast helps the local law enforcement, he keeps coming back to an old story. Oscar Wilde had visited the town back in its mining days, and left with a story that was unbelievable. He shares it with Conan Doyle, who uses the grisly details in a Sherlock Holmes story, one that was never published as it was outside the realm of what the public would accept. Pendergast comes to believe that this story has ties to the modern murders occurring in the town and that finding the story will be the only way to solve the mystery. Corrie is also working on the murders and apparently, someone believes that she is getting close to a solution. She is targeted for murder herself with a series of increasingly violent incidents. Can Pendergast solve the crimes and save Corrie from her curiosity?
This is the thirteenth Pendergast mystery, and fans of the series won't be disappointed. Readers who have not read the prior novels in the series will not be left in the dark; while there are touchstones for former readers there is no need to know the events leading up to this case. The action is non-stop and the crimes grisly enough to satisfy any mystery lover. The solution is complex and satisfactorily ties up all the threads in the story. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.