Crooked river

Recensione di Cristina Bruno

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Publisher: Grand Central Pub

Literary genre: thriller

Pages: 400

Publication year: 2020

Synopsis.  Dozens of identical shoes have washed up on the beach in the quiet resort town of Sanibel Island, Florida. They appear completely ordinary but for one thing – each contains a crudely severed human foot. Faced with an incomprehensible puzzle and ever more confusing pathology reports, the local police call on FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast for his expertise. But with no answers and endless possibilities they are left with only questions: What has happened, and why? Where have the feet come from? And are the victims still alive? Soon Pendergast will find himself entrenched in one of the most complex and inexplicable challenges of his career.


We are in Florida. After the brilliant solution of “Mister Brokenhearts” case, Agent Coldmoon isstill staying while recovering. Agent Pendergast is spending a well-deserved holiday with his pupil Constance. But their peace is a short-term one.

In fact in the Sanibel sunny beach begin to appear, dragged by the waves, human feet wearing all the same shoes. Over one hundred amputated limbs come ashore and local police is threatened with serious difficulties. The Feds arrive and, of course, they take advantage of Pendergast to ask him for advice. The case is complex and research will take place over several fronts, even more burning.

It is immediately clear that it can’t be a serial killer thing but a real organization. Which will be the purpose and who is the chief? Pendergast and Coldmoon will have to risk another time their lives to find it out.

We meet again the unmistakable Aloysius Pendergast, white suit and panama hat, struggling with another bizarre case in the sunny Florida. Again Everglades landscapes, between forests and marshes, are the backdrop to investigations about a case definitely out of the ordinary. We see Coldmoon, involved by Pendergast, and the young Constance, beautiful and indecipherable.

All the rest of characters remain in the background, because the scene is occupied by the three detectives who, a little at a time, will get to the case solution.

Pendergast is a quirky character, outside the lines. He combines keen intuitions with precise investigative strategies. The whole narrative proceeds quickly and it can keep the reader in tension until the end, the catharsis that is expressed in the battle between good and evil. The battle is epochal, epic, with heroes who triumph beyond all imagining.

And yet amid subtle irony, pervading the entire novel and hovering over Pendergast, and the excesses of “special effects” in the final battle, between the pages an important theme peeks out. It’s about the migrants who try to come in USA illegally from Central America and Mexico, in order to join relatives or find a decent work.

Very often their fate will not be happy. After paying a “coyote”, that is a guide who accompanies them during a part of the journey, they are left to themselves. Many of them vanish or easily became prey to drug dealers, local mafias, unscrupulous actors who use their poorly paid job. These are difficult problems to solve but they concern us all directly or indirectly.

Overall it’s a gripping book and it also contains food for thought. It’s a book to read all in one breath, maybe under the beach umbrella in a hot sunny day.

A cura di Cristina Bruno

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: are the authors of international #1 bestselling thrillers, including the Agent Pendergast adventures. In addition to his novels and nonfiction works (such as The Lost City of the Monkey God), Douglas Preston writes about archaeology for The New Yorker and National Geographic magazines. Lincoln Child is a Florida resident and former book editor who has published seven novels of his own, including such bestsellers as Full Wolf Moon and Deep Storm.


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