From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The sixth Isaac Bell adventure takes us back to the beginning of Bell's career as an operative for the Van Dorn Detective Agency. It's 1902, and Bell is a raw young detective, his keen intellect and jump-in-with-both-feet attitude untempered by experience. When he manages to convince his boss to let him prove that a run of sabotage in coal mines is more than the actions of some union activists, Bell soon finds himself with some very powerful and determined enemies. Fans of the Isaac Bell series will note the same exciting storytelling and vivid early-twentieth-century setting, but they'll also note something different: even though it's set only four years earlier than the first Bell novel (2007's The Chase), the book features a much different Isaac: younger, more impetuous, less calmly analytical. The Isaac Bell series is by far the most interesting and enjoyable of Cussler's current output, and this origin story (every hero needs one) will give Bell's fans a fresh look at their favorite private investigator. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cussler has done better than many at employing coathors to help carry the load of multiple series demanding new installments. The Bell novels continue to show the Cussler industry at its best, commercially and literarily.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Bestseller Cussler and Scott explore the origins of their series hero in the exciting sixth Isaac Bell adventure (after 2012's The Thief). In 1902, Bell's employer, the Van Dorn Agency, dispatches the private detective to West Virginia, where he's to go undercover as a coal miner and ferret out the identities of saboteurs looking to do damage to the Gleason Consolidated Coal & Coke Company on behalf of a union outraged by the ultrahazardous working conditions. When a train accident leads to fatalities, the Pinkertons finger union organizer Jim Higgins as the person responsible. Bell is baffled as to how the chain that connected the lead coal car to the engine could have been fractured in plain view of hundreds of workers without anyone, including himself, seeing anything. The action flows swiftly, and the authors do a good job depicting the work conditions and the class warfare of the time. Agent: Peter Lampack, Peter Lampack Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.