Bloodless (Pendergast Book 20)
Doug Preston and Lincoln Child
August 17th, 2021
Grand Central Publishing
Bloodless by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child intertwines different genres: historical, mystery, and science fiction. It delves into an unsolved heist, a brutal crime, and a case involving secrets, lies, and darkness.
Preston noted, “I have always been fascinated with the D. B. Cooper hijacking case. It is one of the longest cases in the files of the FBI that has not been solved. I asked Lincoln if we could base a novel around it that would basically solve the case. He came up with all these great ideas. It is the 50th anniversary since the hijacking, which took place the day before Thanksgiving. Lincoln and I like to weave together true and weird stories. We will try to answer did he survive and other questions?”
The story begins with a true hijacking and theft. In 1971, D. B. Cooper took control of a passenger airliner, allowed them to deplane, and after getting a ransom payment parachuted into the dark Pacific Northwest night, never to be seen or heard of again. Now fifty years later, Agent Pendergast takes on a bizarre and gruesome case in the ghost-haunted city of Savannah, Georgia. Pendergast, his partner, Coldmoon, and his ward Constance, are diverted from traveling to their home by their boss. A strange murder has occurred where a body has been found completely drained of blood. The killer has been dubbed the “Infamous Savannah Vampire.” The heroes must also deal with a team filming a documentary about the haunted places of historic Savannah, an author on a mission to debunk all that, and a narcissistic Senator running for reelection, demanding quick answers about the murders as the body count mounts. At the heart of the mystery is a device that Pendergast claims is the answer to whoever or whatever is plaguing Savannah.
Although Pendergast is front and center, Coldmoon takes a back seat to Constance. The only clue they have is that the manager of the historic hotel, The Chandler House, where they are staying, is the first victim. Constance assists by befriending the reclusive hotel owner, Miss Felicity Winthrop Frost, rumored to have prolonged her life by drinking human blood and seen arguing with her manager. As Constance gains the elderly woman’s confidence, she is shocked by what she finds out, linking everything back to the kidnapping.
A bonus is the vivid description of Savannah. The setting is quaint and atmospheric, dripping with Spanish moss and eerie, foggy mists. Preston and Child both “love Savannah. Some of it is still in the 19th Century. It is a unique city, especially the historical part. It has rumors of being a haunted, spooky city, gothic in flavor. It has tremendous atmosphere with the live oak trees, cobblestone streets, and huge mansions. The Bonaventure Cemetery with its old tombs was important to the story, especially because it is so huge. Savannah is a character in the novel. We ended our last book with the agent’s plane being diverted here after leaving Florida. For Coldmoon, this city is foreign to everything he knew about. It has voodoo undertones, and this is no place like it on the Southern coast of America.”
Blending reality with fantasy, readers at time must suspend their beliefs and let their imagination take over. The plot was engaging with engrossing characters. Some of the plotline is left unfinished and will be wrapped up in the next two books of the series.