“What drove him forward now was a burning need to see this investigation – which seemed ever more likely to be his final investigation – through… while he still had time.”
This is the fourteenth book in a series. This review contains no spoilers for previous books, aside from giving away the survival of one character.
Blue Labyrinth, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
#14 in the Pendergast series
Grand Central Publishing, November 2014
399 pages (ebook)
A long-buried family secret resurfaces when one of Aloysius Pendergast’s most implacable enemies shows up on his doorstep as a murdered corpse. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect murder, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased. The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California’s desolate Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his family’s sinister past.
But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is soon stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. In short order, Pendergast is caught in a wickedly clever plot, which will leave him stricken in mind and body… and may well end with his death.
*** I requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
I don’t know how this fell off my radar when I was looking ahead to fall releases. I guess because at that point I still hadn’t read the previous Preston/Child novel, so I wasn’t looking for another any time soon. But I’m glad I realized this was coming out, and even more glad to have gotten a chance to read it early.
I’ll start off by saying that I wouldn’t recommend Blue Labyrinth to a new reader. I absolutely recommend the series, and a lot of the books do stand on their own pretty well (if you’re a person who doesn’t have to read things in order… not that I would know what that’s like). But this one has callbacks to nearly every previous book in the series, going all the way back to Relic. In fact, it felt like an homage to the series, and I spent a good part of the book wondering if this was meant to be a conclusion.
This book, like several of the others in the series, heavily focuses on Pendergast’s family history; these are always my favorites. Pendergast is a larger-than-life character, which is great in its own way… but it’s also nice to see those kinds of characters humanized now and then. And it usually takes some bit of personal history to see some vulnerability from him.
There’s not much more I can say about this book. If you’re already a fan, you’ll already be planning to read it. If you’re not, this won’t be the book to convince you. Go back and read Relic – or, if you don’t have to start a series at the beginning, The Cabinet of Curiosities is even better and works as a stand-alone – and come back once you know a bit about Pendergast and his past adventures.
Blue Labyrinth is available in print, as well as for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.
Does Blue Labyrinth sound like something you’d pick up (even though I’ve pretty much told you not to)? Do you always read series from the beginning or can you pick and choose the books that sound interesting to you?