A secret chamber.
A mysterious shipwreck.
A murder in the desolate salt marshes.
A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated-and sinister-than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated.
Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
My Rating: **** (4 of 5 stars)
I always look forward to a new Pendergast adventure, and was so excited to read this one! It started out as any mystery might – Agent Pendergast is hired to find out who broke into a lighthouse-turned-residence and made off with the owner’s extensive wine collection. He wouldn’t normally be bothered with anything so mundane, but there is a rare bottle of wine to be had if he can find the thieves.
I was pleased to see so much of Constance Greene in this installment. As frequently as she appears in the series, she is still something of an enigma, and I always enjoy learning more about her. When she and Pendergast arrive in Exmouth, MA, to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that the break-in had to do with a lot more than simply theft. Pendergast soon finds himself investigating both a recent death and a very cold murder case.
Throughout the story we hear talk of an ancient colony of witches, and Constance is convinced that they play some part in the current goings-on in Exmouth, but Pendergast is not convinced. Even so, there is very little paranormal activity until near the end of the novel. I’ve come to expect (and enjoy) a paranormal element to this series. In this story, however, it felt “tacked-on”, or forced. I didn’t have a problem with what happened, it just felt like a bit of an afterthought. That said, I still enjoyed this latest Pendergast novel, and am already anticipating the next one.
NOTE: I received a free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.