I was so looking forward to reading Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child but I was so totally disappointed when I finished.
I have to admit that I read the books out of order, probably a bad idea. The first one I ever read was Still Life With Crows and, while I enjoyed it and liked the Pendergast character, there were a couple of sections that confused me. There were references to people I didn't know and there were a mysterious pair of eyes, one hazel, one blue. At least, I think the eyes were in that book. I didn't plan on reading any more in the series but then I came across Cabinet of Curiosities and I was totally hooked. At that point, I realized I ought to go back and read the first two and I enjoyed them as well.
By then, Brimstone and Dance of Death were out in hardcover and/or paperback. I was eager to get to them, looking forward to this confrontation between Aloysius Pendergast and his mad brother Diogenes. I thought I'd be introduced to the brother in this book but there were just a couple of references to him and that was my first disappointment.
The next one was that a mysterious character appeared, Constance Green, and she didn't make any sense to me. I get it that she was in the Harlem mansion from the Cabinet book and that she was in hiding throughout the story. I get it that experiments were done on her and that she is actually very much older than she looks (she appears 19 or 20). If I remember correctly, Pendergast's great grandfather (or some relative) was the one performing life prolonging experiments on her and then he died. Now Pendergast is taking care of her, slowly easing her into the 21st century by reading to her from newspapers. You'd think she was a very fragile being but no, Pendergast also has her research the most hideous topics like soul snatching by the Devil and what have you. I kept getting this feeling of huh? and I don't like that feeling.
The book began well with the mysterious murders of two men in New York--with the stink of brimstone in the air and the burned out shells of bodies left behind, it sure seemed the work of Satan. Enter Pendergast--who has a special interest in serial killings--and Vinnie D'Agosta, now a trivial sergeant from eastern Long Island. This was another huh? section. Apparently D'Agosta returned from the NYC police force, dragged his unwilling wife and son to Canada, went bankrupt writing books and came crawling back sans family. Okay, I can't see a city cop leaving New York, sorry.
Another WTF moment: where was obnoxious reporter Bill Smithback of the New York Post? Apparently he and his old rival Bryce Harriman swapped jobs? Now Smithback is on his honeymoon and Harriman is struggling in Smithback's old job. Why? As far as I can tell, the entire Harriman/Buck-the-preacher segment was totally irrelevant to the story. It could have been left out and I think the story would have moved a lot faster for me.
Once Pendergast and D'Agosta went to Italy I began to get bored and impatient. I didn't like Count Fosco--he was an admittedly purloined character taken to honor the author who came up with detective stories. Really? Okay...yawn. I couldn't stand Count Fosco, didn't find him really believeable as a psychopathic villain. And the authors also purloined the story from Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado. Give me a break. I thought that story worked better for Dark Shadows than it did for this book.
But lots of people loved this book and I didn't. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I wanted to see the battle between Pendergast and his brother begin. Where is Diogenes and what exactly is this perfect heinous crime he's planning? So I have to wait for Dance of Death to meet the guy? Although...
whose hazel and blue eyes peeked into that bricked up room? Well...I could have skipped this book and went right to the next one as far as I'm concerned.
Now I remember why I abandoned the series for a time. I let my pleasant experience with the The Dark Wheel and my fond memories of The Relic, Reliquary and the The Cabinet of Curiosities blur my vision and I checked this out of the library.
I'll stand by my earlier assessment - its 21st century pulp. But this outing descends to a bad level (not say Matthew Reilly level, but bad). The novel is too bloated for the pay off it delivers, and much of the secondary plot line involving Harriman, Capt. Hayward and Rev. Buck could have been eliminated entirely to good effect.
Anyway, I lightheartedly hope the next book will be better, but I think I'll read other things first before I get it out of the library.
I was very suprised by this book. Going mainly on the title and cover alone, I braved up enough to swap for it. To my satisfaction, this book was more than I had hoped. The authors did a wonderful job of creating a well-rounded story, making certain to tie up most, if not all, loose ends. Since this is the very first title I have read from Preston and Child, I cannot comment on their joint growths as authors, but I can say that if I ever had to jump into a series with both feet, I'm certainly glad I jumped into this book.
I love Agent Pendergast!!! He is a very unique character with a dry sense of humor, loves the finer things in life, has intense feelings (usually hidden by himself) and an unmatched level of knowledge. This is the first in a trilogy that involves his brother. We find out more about Agent Pendergast and his family from this trilogy. I would highly recommend you read all three books. Don't let the covers scare you as it really is not satanistic. However, you probably need to start from the beginning of the Pendergast series (Relic) to really get to know Pendergast because he is definitely developed throughout the series.
Good thriller. The story starts with a body found by a maid in the attic of a Long Island estate and there is a claw print scorched into the wall. The smell of sulfar permeates the air. When FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that 30 years ago, 4 men conjured something evil. Many wonder if the devil has come to claim his due. This thriller is a real page-turner and I found it difficult to put down. The ending is a surprise.
I am for the most part, a Pendergast fan and picked up this book because I enjoyed Still Life with Crows, Riptide (no Pendergast), Cabinet of Curiousities, Relic (really loved Relic) & Relic's sequel Reliquary. I also thought from the creepy cover & description blurp that this was a horror novel. After reading it awhile, I realized it wasn't. It falls more in the detective/thriller genre, and that type of book is really not my cup of tea. Maybe that is the reason I couldn't really get into this plot.
At the book's conclusion, I was still left with an unresolved feeling. The ends don't tie up neatly and there were quite a few plot points that didn't need to be in the book at all. The are characters described by vague references to other stories (none of which I've read). For one character, alot of chapters are written as if building up for a explosive showdown, and when it occurs, it's a dud. If this were my first Childs/Preston book, I probably wouldn't pick up another one.
I love Agent Pendergast!
_Brimstone_ was one of my favorites in this 'series' comprised of novels that all stand alone.
FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates mysterious crimes with a supernatural element.
Well, this must have been the book that Preston wrote while living in Florence! It was good - and really captured Florence well - though the uncertain ending was rather frustrating. And I have the feeling that the loose ends will be a while in being tied up, since this apparently the first book of a trilogy within the Pendergast series. It was great to see the return of some old characters from the first two books. And the open threat of this mysterious brother is very intriguing! I can't wait to keep reading!
High tension thriller/mystery with FBI agent Pendergast and Vincent d'Agosta of the police. People dying horribly in locked rooms. Too many murder suspects to count, and then the suspects start dying, too . . .
Has the devil come to claim his due? FBI Special Agent Pendergast is back! From Relic, to Reliquery and on---continue the adventure with this modern-day Sherlock. A hero's hero! Fun to read and keeps you turning pages long into the night!
A body is found in the attic of a fabulouse Long Island estate.
There is a claw print scorched into the wall, and the stench of sulfur chokes the air.
When FBI agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that thirty years ago four men cinjured something unspeakable.
Has the devil come to claim his due?
"The perfect thriller" Publishers Weekly
"A body is found in the attic of a fabulous Long Island estate.
There is a claw print scorched into the wall and the stench of sulfur chokes the air.
When FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that thirty years ago four men conjured something unspeakable.
Has the devil come to claim his due?
BRIMSTONE some things cant be undone."
Murders in most unusual fashions compel Special Agent Pendergast into strange places and supernatural events! A group of powerful men are being killed systematically, one by one, by what appears to be cult related, grisly rituals. They're all connected, but Pendergast has to put the puzzle pieces together and make sense of it all.
Another thrill ride from Preston & Child! This is the 5th book in the Pendergast series and the 1st of the Diogenes trilogy. Diogenes is only mentioned briefly in this book as being Pendergast's malevolent brother who is plotting some diabolical scheme, but I guess this if further developed in the next two books. Brimstone starts out with the horrific death of a rich playboy on Long Island. The means of death looks as if the devil himself killed the man by roasting him from the inside. Could this be a sign of the end of days? Some people in the story seem to think so. Former police lieutenant D'Agosta (he took a break from police work and at the start of Brimstone was working as a police sergeant in Southampton, Long Island) is involved in the case and of course it also piques FBI agent Pendergast's interest. To try to solve the case, Pendergast enlists the aide of D'Agosta which eventually takes them to Italy and a very heinous perpetrator who seems to be more than a match for Pendergast.
This was a long novel of over 700 pages but even with the length, the story kept moving at a fast pace and kept me wanting to read more. The book gave some insights into Constance who was briefly mentioned in previous books and who is now a ward of Pendergast. Also, I liked the return of D'Agosta whose character was also more fully developed. Looks like my next read will be Dance of Death, the next in the series, and I am definitely looking forward to it!
I've never read these authors before, and I think this series may be best started from the beginning. Pendergast is an odd character, rather Sherlockian, and I had a lot of questions unanswered by any explanation or backstory. Characters the reader is obviously supposed to know pop in and out. The main plot is a series of horrible killings that look like Satan has claimed a soul, but there's also an (IMO) unnecessary subplot with a reporter. I did finish it, but found myself easily distracted, putting it down about every 20 pages or so. Oh well, not my cup of tea.
FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a wealthy, refined yet ruthless descendant of Holmes who's very much his own character. Pendergast, as well as other Preston and Child semiregulars, notably rough-hewn former NYPD cop Vincent D'Agosta, Watson to Pendergast's Sherlock, tread nearly every page of this vastly imagined, relentlessly enjoyable thriller. The body of a notorious art critic is found in his Hamptons, L.I., mansion, wholly burned, with a cloven hoofprint nearby: the devil's work? Book 1 of a Trilogy