A Book Spy Review: ‘The Pharaoh Key’ by Preston & Child


The pharoah Key.jpgProfessional thief Gideon Crew returns for his fifth, and quite possibly his final, adventure in the latest thriller from bestselling duo Preston & Child. 

Eli Glinn has vanished. That’s a problem for two reasons. First, Glinn is a personal friend of Gideon Crew. Secondly, Effective Engineering Solutions (EES), Glinn’s high-tech laboratory, has been unexpectedly shut down overnight, which means Gideon is suddenly unemployed and out of work. 

Sadly, Glinn’s whereabouts and employment status are the least of Gideon’s concerns. Crew was recently diagnosed with a brain Arteriovenous Malformation and has since been told that he has only two months to live. The only silver lining is that he’s relatively symptom-free, and should remain so until the moment he drops dead. While that does little to ease any anxieties about the end of his life, it does serve Gideon well when Manuel Garza comes calling with one final adventure all lined up. 

Like the other employees, after EES shut down, Garza returned to the lab to collect his things when he discovered that a supercomputer designed to run calculations aiming to decipher the Phaistos Disk had finally spit out an answer after nearly five years of nonstop data processing. If the information is correct, it’s highly probable that treasure awaits them in the Hala’ib Triangle. Together, Gideon and Garza gear up and head out to southeastern Egypt, running into more trouble than they ever could have bargained for, encountering one unthinkable scenario after another. 

Without question, this is Preston & Child’s best Gideon Crew novel (it’s not even close), which will be a real shame if The Pharaoh Key is, indeed, the last readers will see of the brilliant scientist, thief, and Indiana Jones-like adventurer. While the story has all the makings of a last hurrah — Preston & Child hold nothing back, throwing everything at Gideon from a long trek in the desert that leaves him nearly dying of thirst to unreliable guides with their own sinister agendas — the ending is left ambiguous and open-ended enough that we cannot know for certain what lies ahead for this particular series. Then again, fans of these authors know this scenario all too well, as the fate of Agent Pendergast has provided at least one killer cliffhanger in the past. 

Fast-paced, well-written, and loads of fun, The Pharaoh Key reads like a mashup between National Treasure, Indiana Jones, and MacGyver. . . if this is the end of Gideon Crew, Preston & Child have saved their very best for last.

Book Details

Author: Preston & Child
Series: Gideon Crew #5
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1455525820
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: July 12, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) 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.


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