Brimstone (2004)

Brimstone is the follow up novel to Still Life With Crows from the Preston and Child writing duo. It features their main protagonist, Agent Pendergrast, who is the unstoppable FBI agent. He also gets assisted from some characters we've seen before, including police officer Vincent D'Agosta, a New York cop that could give DeMille's John Corey a run for his money.

Unlike the man vs. nature theme that they often feature, this time it's more of a murder mystery in Brimstone. Prominent New Yorkers from the upper crust of society are experiencing a not so minor issue of spontaneous human combustion. As the bodies pile up, Pendergrast follows the trail from New York, on over to Italy where half the novel takes place.

Along the way, we take a few side trips to the house from The Cabinet of Curiosities. We now find out who the eyes from the previous novel belong to, although there is still more to be told as to who Constance is. We also set the stage for the next two novels as we are introduced to Diogenes, Agent Pendergrast's evil brother. There's clearly going to be a showdown when this is all done, and this novel is known as the first of the "Diogenes Trilogy."

This duo is known for crackling detail written thrillers, and a creepiness that's hard to explain. Brimstone clearly delivers on both counts. It's also notable that they draw on the grandmaster of horror writing himself, Edgar Allen Poe, with a scene right out of "The Cask of Amontillado," which a few may recall was our first reading assignment during freshman year at high school (not counting the initial summer reading, of course). Yes, Preston and Child can match the creepiness of Poe, which is no small achievement.

My only criticism of Brimstone is that after 500 pages of excellence, it ends on a cliffhanger of an unfinished note. Maybe it's just me, but I like more of a resolution, but thankfully, the next few novels in the series are out, and I'll be looking for Dance of Death soon.

Overall Grade: A

Reviewed by Jonas

For our other reviews of their work, click here and here.

Read the first chapter here.

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