Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
It’s funny. Coming on the heels of my Connelly review, I look to another long running and varied series, that of quirky FBI agent, Aloysius Pendergast. It started with Relic, and then moved forward through several books. All of Preston and Child’s characters kind of coalesced into one novel, and then from then on, it focused mainly on Pendergast, a pale-featured New Orleans bred bon vivant, whose checkered past and unconventional mannerisms get him in trouble all while he’s trying to solve murders with an uncanny supernatural bent.
It’s been a weird goddamn ride with AXL Pendergast. There have been a series of trilogies of sorts. In one, he fights his evil brother, Diogenes, which is easily the best of the batch. Though the early ones, where we meet Corrie Swanson, are excellent too. He takes upon himself the stewardship of Constance Greene, a victorian throwback — LITERALLY — as well as a number of confreres and such. They were solid books, with a tinge of supernatural flavoring them.
And as of late, they’ve sort of lost their flare.
This one in particular is a bit of a mess. It starts off with shades of Salem witchcraft and Edgar Allan Poe, as Pendergast is called upon to a mysterious New England fishing community to solve a wine robbery. Instead, he discovers a massive conspiracy dating back to the 1880’s involving a missing steamer and its cargo. And even THAT would have been enough. But then it turns into Relic, with a weird monster slaughtering people. And the book ends on such a cheesy fucking cliffhanger that I won’t be surprised if Pendergast bungeed to the bottom on string mozzarella.
It’s like Preston and Child aren’t quite sure what to do with their hero now, and so they’re just throwing awkward shit at him. They’ve clearly got plans for a new…I don’t know, maybe another trilogy? I guess this past wave is clear, the Trois Colours trilogy of White Fire, Blue Labyrinth and now Crimson Shore. I hope it picks up in this next phase. Because these last three were kind of a disappointment.