Tag Archives: Preston and Child

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Diablo Mesa

Diablo Mesa by Douglas Preston

Diablo Mesa (Nora Kelly, #3) by  Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child

Amy Caudill‘s review

Authors Preston and Child have taken their characters to a lot of different places, but this latest edition to the Nora Kelly series enters previously unexplored territory, starting with an archeological dig that crosses paths with a possible alien conspiracy.

When Nora Kelly rejects an offer made to  the Santa Fe Institute to work with billionaire Lucas Tappan on an archeological survey of the Roswell site, she loses her job, only to get a better offer from Tappan to work for him privately.  Skeptical but intrigued by his “evidence” of something actually crashing in the area, she accepts, and almost immediately uncovers two murder victims buried in the sand.

Nora calls the only FBI agent she knows, Corrie Swanson, with whom she has shared a couple of adventures and thinks of as sort of a friend.  Corrie is assigned the case, which leads her down a rabbit’s hole of conspiracies and more deaths, including that of her mentor.  And for some reason, she can’t quite trust the new mentor from Washington who is assigned as her temporary supervisor.

With a plot that involves an alien probe, a secret quasi-government cult, and an action-packed assault through a hidden underground bunker; this story has plenty of action; as well as a possible romance for Nora Kelly, whose husband Bill Smithback died  due to involvement in one of Agent Pendergast’ cases (see the authors’ largest and best-known series.)

This story features the adventures of Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson, two alums from Pendergast novels and standalones from authors Preston and Child.  The two women are radically different in age, in outlook, and education, but through this series are drawn together through both shared experiences and their connection to one Agent Aloysius Pendergast.  The earliest book, Old Bones, has them at conflict, and as unwilling allies, but I sense by this third volume at least a thawing of emotions.  They agree to stay on a first name basis, despite coming together for official business.  If they will actually become friends remains to be seen, but I’m sure the authors have some interesting things planned for them in subsequent stories.

I’ll admit I was skeptical about some of the territory this novel  ventured into, but the authors have a talent for making the fantastic seem plausible, and I was deeply satisfied with the conclusion, as multiple antagonists (including Nora’s former bosses) received their just desserts.  I award this book five stars, and look forward to the next installment, Dead Mountain, due out in August.  


Amy Caudill’s Reviews : The Scorpion’s Tail

The Scorpion's Tail by Douglas Preston

The Scorpion’s Tail (Nora Kelly #2) by  Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child

Amy Caudill‘s review

When Corrie Swanson is given a seemingly routine field assignment by her boss at the Albuquerque field office of the FBI, no one expects that the shooting of a cop at a ghost town will lead to the uncovering of plots of conspiracy, murder, lost treasure, and a huge cover up on a military base. 

Corrie once again relies on the assistance of Nora Kelly to excavate a corpse found in High Lonesome, a relatively untouched ghost town, but one with recent signs of looting and of course, a shooting.  Both Corrie and Nora, the main protagonists in this series, are alumni of multiple novels in authors’ Preston and Child main series, the Agent Pendergast books.

In the last book of this series, Old Bones, Corrie and Nora did not exactly part on good terms, but they seem to respect each other’s abilities and cannot deny that on some levels they need each other’s help.  There is much made of their dynamic, these two who are not friends but connected through their sometime association with Pendergast, as reluctant partners, drawn into the investigation more and more despite pressures from Corrie’s bosses and status as a rookie and Nora’s delayed separate work and aspirations for a promotion to Chief of Archeology at the Santa Fe Archeological Institute.

When the victim is identified as the former owner of a ranch on land appropriated by the military for the first atomic test, and evidence suggests the test is actually what caused his death, the FBI, with Nora in tow, visit the Army base to ask uncomfortable questions of its commander, General McGurk, who apparently has familial ties to the area.

Who is involved in the looting and cover up?  Who is making sure that no witness survives, including trying to kill Nora and Corrie as they make covert trips back to High Lonesome, where only a part of the mystery will be solved.

This book has excellent pacing, going back and forth between multiple scenarios and points of view, as par for the writing team.  The reader is skillfully drawn into the story, without much clue as to where the next clue will appear and the next antagonist show his true colors.  In the end, the token appearance by Pendergast, (in only one short chapter near the conclusion,) will the final mystery be uncovered and the guilty receive their due punishment.

Another excellent novel from two of my favorite authors, that I award five stars for action, drama, strong female leads, all in a FBI procedural that contains so much more.  With the next novel, Diablo Mesa, already out, I’m sure I will be revisiting this universe very soon.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Beyond the Ice Limit

Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston

Beyond the Ice Limit (Gideon Crew, #4; Ice Limit #2) by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child
Amy Caudill‘s review 

This fourth outing in the Gideon Crew series by the writing team of Preston and Child also fulfills a fervent wish from multiple fans over the years to serve as a sequel to a previous stand-alone story by the duo, called The Ice Limit. 

While this book continues the storyline of the last Gideon Crew novel, it also includes the culmination of years of work for pre-existing characters such as Eli Glinn and Manuel Garza, who we have seen in not only the original solo book, but also in the prior three Gideon Crew novels and in a couple of the authors’ Pendergast series books as well. 

Glinn has apparently spent the intervening years gathering resources and making plans to return to the site of his greatest failure, and with his return to health after The Lost Island and the inclusion of Gideon, is finally ready to attempt to repair the damage done by the alien “seed.”

The nature of this creature, once thought to be a giant meteorite, eludes the explorers as they make their way to where it “planted” itself, in the “Screaming Sixties” latitude between the bottom tip of South America and Antarctica.  Is the creature, nicknamed the Baobab because of its resemblance to the terrestrial tree, plant or animal?  Is it a creature or a machine?  The crew members probe these questions even as the Baobab begins to exert its influence over them in inexplicable and later horrifying ways.

The combined efforts of Gideon, Glinn, Garza, and latecomer Sam McFarlane (from the original book) desperately try to stop a force that seems to undermine them at every turn.  Will they succeed in destroying the creature, or is the Earth doomed to be the breeding ground of more of these “seeds?”  The action and the drama don’t stop until the very end in this book.

I am a big fan of the two authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, of both their individual works but especially those they create together.  The two seemingly work seamlessly as one when collaborating, though I suppose after so many joint projects they probably have it down to a science by this point.  Their characters are engaging but flawed, each different but well-developed, and help to drive the story that already has a fantastically complex plot.  This particular book dips more into the sci-fi genre than many of their others, but the result is still well-paced and thrilling.

I award this book 4.5 stars for an exciting read, that those new to the authors and series can enjoy (almost) as much as those who have read any of the previous books.  I recommend it for fans of science fiction and thrillers alike.