A consistently exciting and never predictable series."
It begins as a manhunt for Grace Ozmian, the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire. At first, the NYPD assumes Grace, beautiful, reckless, and a regular feature of the local tabloids, has simply sped off on another wild adventure. But the case becomes something altogether different when the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found.
Lieutenant CDS Vincent D'Agosta quickly takes the lead. He knows his investigation will attract fierce scrutiny, so D'Agosta is delighted when FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene also assigned to the case. "I feel rather like Brer Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch," Pendergast tells D'Agosta, "because I have found you here, in charge. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History."
D'Agosta hopes the case will give Pendergast an opportunity to demonstrate his considerable abilities back in the city he has made home. But neither Pendergast nor D'Agosta are prepared for what lies ahead. It quickly becomes clear that a diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered...and decapitated. Worse still, there's something unique to the city itself that has attracted its evil eye of the killer--or killers.
As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D'Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city. It'll take all of Pendergast's skill to unmask this most dangerous foe--let alone survive to tell the tale.
Place of Birth:Cambridge, Massachusetts
Education:B.A., Pomona College, 1978
★ 12/01/2017Library Journal
In his 17th outing (after The Obsidian Chamber), FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast, along with his friend NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta, tackles yet another twisted, multiple-murder case but this time featuring horrifying decapitations. Grace Ozmian, daughter of a high-tech billionaire, is the first to be killed, but unlike her successor victims, her head was apparently removed from her corpse more than 24 hours after her death. As the subsequent bodies (and severed heads) pile up, the pot is further stirred by local reporter Bryce Harriman, who manages to stoke fear and panic in New York City, eventually bringing out a range of demonstrators and protesters, from the violent to the religious, the latter of whom stage a modern "Bonfire of the Vanities" in Central Park to expiate the city of its sins. All of which puts extreme pressure on the police and the FBI to solve the case, and pronto. VERDICT Fans of the "Pendergast" series will be delighted with this latest romp and its careful plotting and suspense should appeal to mystery fans generally as well. The sensational details don't interfere at all with its plausibility and stylishness. [See Prepub Alert, 7/24/17.]—Vicki Gregory, Sch. of Information, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa
Why would a killer decapitate his victims? That’s one of the puzzles Preston and Child pose for their eccentric FBI agent with expensive tastes, Aloysius Pendergast, and his loyal NYPD ally, Lt. Cmdr. Vincent D’Agosta, in the lackluster 17th entry in this bestselling series (after 2016’s The Obsidian Chamber). In Kew Gardens, Queens, two boys stumble on a headless woman in a garage. Fingerprinting identifies the body as that of Grace Ozmian, the missing 23-year-old daughter of tech billionaire Anton Ozmian. Before much traction can be made on Grace’s case, more people are murdered and decapitated, including a prosecutor turned mob lawyer and a Russian oligarch. There’s no obvious motive for the killings, and D’Agosta feels pressure from New York City’s mayor to come up with answers. Though the minimization of Pendergast’s complex backstory makes this entry more accessible to newcomers, the authors fail to generate their usual high level of suspense. The climax will strike fans as too familiar. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Jan.)
"As always, the authors have crafted a story that is almost impossible to pull away from, and their prose is as elegant as fans have come to expect. Pendergast continues to be one of thrillerdom's most exciting and intriguing series leads, and the series remains among the most reliable in the genre."Booklist
"This, yet another masterpiece by Preston & Child, will be the perfect way to start out your New Year...Just as it was when D'Agosta and Pendergast first met up in the thrilling book, Relic, they are together once again solving a crime of mammoth proportions. Preston, Child, and their well-known characters are always sheer perfection!"Amy Lignor, Suspense Magazine
"One of the best in the series-tense and tightly wound, with death relentlessly circling, stalking, lurking behind every shadow."Kirkus ReviewsFrom the Publisher
Preston and Child's (The Obsidian Chamber, 2016, etc.) eccentric FBI special agent A.X.L. Pendergast is still on his boss's bad side, which means his next assignment is to aid in what seems to be a routine, albeit bloody, New York City murder investigation.The victim is Grace Ozmian, a tech billionaire's daughter, and she's been decapitated. She was a coke-fueled party girl, and her father has a reputation as "a world class prick," so there should be plenty of suspects. Then, the killer soon to be known as the Decapitator takes more victims: a shady mob lawyer; a married couple scamming people with distressed mortgages; and, oddly, a Nigerian woman who had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Donning his handmade John Lobb shoes and strapping on a Les Baer 1911 Colt .45, Pendergast joins Lt. Cmdr. Detective Squad Vincent D'Agosta, a regular cohort, in the investigation. Interference comes from a believably sketched reporter with the WASPy name of Harriman, credentialed by Choate and Dartmouth, who's attempting to resurrect his career with a tabloid column. Series newcomers may stumble over the minimal back story provided on the brilliant loner that is Pendergast, all pale skin and gaunt frame, and might be somewhat confused by his Riverside Drive mansion, three apartments in the Dakota, and vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith driven by a taciturn factotum named Proctor. Set in the weeks before Christmas, the book has a nice sense of chilly city winds and snow-piled streets, but the atmosphere grows far more foreboding when Pendergast tracks the killer to an abandoned psychiatric hospital on Long Island.One of the best in the series—tense and tightly wound, with death relentlessly circling, stalking, lurking behind every shadow.