Crooked River 

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Grand Central Publishing

February 4th, 2020

Crooked River by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child combines a sinister global threat, a mystery using modern medical science, and a powerful, sadistic antagonist.  Who better than to combat these but unorthodox FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast.

“We based on a true story.  There have been cities where severed feet washed up that were inside sneakers.  We thought who were these people? Then it occurred to us it would make an awesome first chapter in a Pendergast novel.  But there is a big journey from an idea to a plot for a book.  We had to figure out who were these people, where did they come from, and why did their feet wash up on this beach at that particular time?  We also wanted a credible scientific explanation.:  

The story opens with Pendergast being called to investigate a bizarre disaster that turned up on the quiet beach of Sanibel Island, Florida.  He was there taking a well-deserved vacation with his ward and researcher, Constance Greene.  She declines to be involved with it because of her past history, and instead decides to search for the ghost at their vacation residence, Mortlach House.

The authors contrasted each of the main characters. “Pendergast is hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone, until Coldmoon arrives. Pendergast is a maverick who does not play by the rules.  Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and every inch a Fed. Constance is extraordinarily beautiful, smart, and a sarcastic young ward who has eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, is surprised by nothing. She is like the guitar solo that comes in at just the right time.”

Pendergast wonders how dozens and dozens of shoes with severed human feet inside wash up on an island off the southwestern coast of Florida. Called in to help him is his former partner, FBI Junior Agent Armstrong Coldmoon. They decide he should work on the case from a different angle that sends him to Central America. They must placate and avoid the arrogant Coast Guard commander who has tunnel vision, insisting that the shoes belong to convicts executed at a Cuban prison.  Not convinced, Pendergast enlists the aid of oceanographer Pamela Gladstone to analyze currents in the Gulf of Mexico to determine their source. All have to be very careful because lives are at stake, including their own.

This compelling story moves forward in unexpected ways.  Readers will enjoy going on a journey with Pendergast and company. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.