Cussler, writing with his son, once again blends history, technical knowledge, bombs, bullets and betrayal into cinematic...

CRESCENT DAWN

Mix terrorists, Roman artifacts, delusions of dynasty and irrefutable physical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth lived, then add water—from the Mediterranean Sea—and you get another aquatic adventure starring Dirk Pitt and his colleagues at NUMA.

This is Cussler's 21st effort with Pitt and the National Underwater and Marine Agency (Arctic Drift, 2008, etc.). While studying algae blooms in the Aegean Sea, the intrepid explorer stumbles upon an Ottoman Empire era shipwreck, among which there are Roman artifacts. Pitt takes his find to his friend Dr. Rey Ruppé at the Istanbul Archeology Museum hoping to discover why a medieval ship would have been carrying Roman-Christian era cargo, and the nonstop action begins. There is a cast of familiar characters, including Al Giordino, Pitt's twin children, Summer and Dirk Jr., all complemented by a crew of memorable villains, including Ozden Celik and his sister, Maria, the last direct descendants of the Ottoman dynasty. That pair is in possession of black-market HMX explosives and are intent on starting a revolution. Readers also meet assorted allied Arab terrorists, traders in purloined antiquities and a too-easily-forgiven rogue archeologist named Ridley Bannister. The 100 chapters sail by rapidly when Cussler brings in the legendary Lord Kitchener, drowned in 1916 when the British warship HMS Hampshire sinks while on a mission to Russia, Helena, the mother Emperor Constantine, a nearly perfectly preserved Roman galley in a cave on Cyprus, and a letter from Jesus to Peter. The complicated plot has the most nefarious villains dead by chapter 84. Dirk Pitt fans will be happy to note the appearance of the obligatory auto, this time a 1948 Model 135 Delahaye convertible coupe with a Henri Chapron coachwork-body.

Cussler, writing with his son, once again blends history, technical knowledge, bombs, bullets and betrayal into cinematic action.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-15714-1

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more