Special Agent Pendergast is back for his 17th adventure in Preston & Child’s latest novel, City of Endless Night.
Tasked with helping out on a brutal New York City murder case in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Agent Aloysius Pendergast begins searching for Grace Ozmian’s killer when he realizes there may be more than one madman on the loose.
Grace, the daughter of Anton Ozmian, a tech billionaire with a reputation for being pompous and arrogant, was found dead by two boys in Queens. Her body was found in a garage, decapitated and disfigured. She was only identifiable through fingerprints.
A party girl who had drugs in her system, Grace had her own enemies to go with the growing list of people who hated her father. With no shortage of suspects, Pendergast and his close friend, NYPD cop Vincent D’Agosta, begin their investigation by trying to figure out why someone would have mutilated Grace’s body so badly. That leads to the realization that whoever killed her might not have disfigured her. . . meaning they’re actually looking for two different people.
Before they’re able to make much headway on their case, Pendergast and D’Agosta hear of more killings where the victims’ bodies were disfigured. As blood begins to flow on the snow-covered New York City streets, the duo catches their first break when one of the victims is identified as an attorney with shady ties to the mob. They hope they will provide the missing link between victims who, until now, seem to be totally unrelated other than the fact that each body was mutilated the same way.
In what feels like an effort to allow newcomers to jump into this book without having to start back at the beginning of the series, Preston and Child provide little to no background on Pendergast. It’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach that would be fine and well, except that readers will likely wonder why an FBI agent is absolutely loaded. Pendergast, on top of owning multiple mansions and high-priced production cars, wears flashy suits and is able to throw cash around almost at will. That will likely create more confusion than anything for newcomers, who would be better off jumping into this series with last year’s The Obsidian Chamber.
While the pacing is a tad slower than what Preston and Child’s readers are used to, diehard fans will enjoy hanging with Pendergast and seeing D’Agosta operate on his home turf.
Author: Preston & Child
Series: Pendergast #17
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.