Cold Vengeance: An Agent Pendergast Novel

Cold Vengeance: An Agent Pendergast Novel

Devastated by the discovery that his wife, Helen, was murdered, Special Agent Pendergast must have retribution. But revenge is not simple. As he stalks his wife’s betrayers – a chase that takes him from the wild moors of Scotland to the bustling streets of New York City and the darkest bayous of Louisiana – he is also forced to dig further into Helen’s past. And he is stunned to learn that Helen may have been a collaborator in her own murder. Peeling back the layers of deception, Pendergast realizes that the conspiracy is deeper, goes back generations, and is more monstrous than he could have ever imagined – and everything he’s believed, everything he’s trusted, everything he’s understood . . . may be a horrific lie.

Every now and then you pick up a book and completely lose yourself in the story, the narrative and the tension; Cold Vengeance was certainly one of those books for me. Beginning with a stag hunt on the Scottish moors where Pendergast is left for dead with a bullet to his chest, I was immediately immersed in a struggle to survive the harsh elements, a thirteen point stag – 500 inches of antler – and a bog that took no prisoners. Although unrelated I couldn’t help but compare the opening scenes with Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles – fog, rain, treacherous conditions – mind you Cold Vengeance didn’t have the hound causing mayhem on the moors!

Although the second instalment in the –Helen trilogy – Special Agent Pendergast series, Cold Vengeance works well as a standalone and is incredibly enjoyable, fluid and entertaining. However, I would recommend reading Fever Dream (released in 2010) before approaching this novel as there are a number of key events discussed that I would have preferred reading in the correct order and as part of the trilogy and for fear of spoilers I will certainly not mention them in this review. Every once in a while I’d come across an event that had apparently happened in the first book and with little explanation it took a while to understand what was going on. This certainly doesn’t detract from the enjoyment garnered here but it would have certainly enhanced it.

The narrative is both slick and powerful and, serving as my introduction to the writing team of Preston & Child, I was pleasantly surprised with its fluidity and atmospheric tension found throughout. Finishing the book in two sittings I found it hard to put the book down such was the non stop nature of the plot. Beginning in Scotland, the story quickly moves to New York, Louisiana, Mississippi and numerous locations around the United States jumping from one place or another before landing back in Scotland, all the while introducing a variety of new characters in each town or city.

The stag was a about a thousand yards off, moving slowly into the Mire. As if on cue, he raised his head, snuffled the air, and let out another ear-shattering  roar, which echoed and died among the stones, then shook his mane and went back to sniffing the ground and taking odd snatches of grass.

“My God,” whispered Esterhazy. “He’s a monster.” 

Given the number of air miles on offer in the book it takes a little while to get used to the jumping around but once the main protagonists have been introduced, and you have a clear understanding of the main plot, it’s incredibly easy to follow.

Agent Aloysius Pendergast – introduced as a part character in the novel Relic (1995) – is a wonderfully cantankerous character, a fellow who knows what he wants and how to get it. He has no trouble in doing whatever it takes to solve a problem and certainly has no qualms about using bribery or blackmail to ensure the relevant information is secured, all the while brandishing his FBI credentials to further his progressive investigations. Clearly a man who cares for those close to him he has a certain fallibility that makes him a little more human and correcting those mistakes along the way prove entertaining and agreeable!

A wonderful rewarding novel, Cold Vengeance is a highly entertaining read, is very well developed and manages to leave a little intrigue in the dying moments to make you long for the third instalment of this trilogy. Although the ending was anticipated it certainly didn’t detract from the overall product. Highly recommended.

Published by Orion the book is available in Hardcover & Kindle

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