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Sherlock Holmes fans will relish Preston and Child's 13th novel featuring eccentric FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after 2012's Two Graves), one of their best in this popular series. In the prologue, set in 1889 at a London restaurant, Oscar Wilde not only advises Conan Doyle on how to improve the character of Holmes, who so far has appeared only in A Study in Scarlet, but also tells a horrible tale about a mining camp that the aesthete visited during his American tour a few years before. The details of Wilde's story gradually come out in the main, present-day narrative, in which Pendergast's protege, Corrie Swanson, a student at Manhattan's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is undertaking "a large-scale study of perimortem trauma on human bones inflicted by a large carnivore." Her starting point will be Roaring Fork, Colo., where a bear killed and ate 11 miners in 1876. Corrie's arrival in Roaring Fork coincides with a serious of grisly murders that Pendergast later comes to believe are related to the 19th-century bear attacks. Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Anne Rice, and Peter Straub have all supplied blurbs for this installment, which easily stands on its own with only passing references to Pendergast's complex backstory. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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In searching for a topic for her thesis, Corrie Swanson, a third-year criminal justice student, finds an article about a conversation between Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle that had the famous creator of Sherlock Holmes fleeing from the room horrified. Learning that in 1876 a number of miners in the town of Roaring Fork, CO, had been attacked and eaten by a grizzly bear, Corrie travels to Roaring Fork to examine the miners' bones, but before she gets a look, the developers of the town's exclusive ski resort have her thrown in jail on trumped-up charges. Corrie did see enough to believe that the marks on the bones were made by something much more sinister than a bear. FBI Special Agent Aloysius Xingu L. Pendergast (Two Graves) comes to her rescue and offers his help. As a series of arsons threaten to light up Roaring Fork, Corrie and Aloysius must solve the riddle of the town's past. VERDICT Preston and Child have again given the readers a vibrant, thrilling, and sometimes shocking read with unexpected twists and surprises that is sure to delight. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/13.]-Cynde Suite, Bartow Cty. Lib. Syst., Adairsville, GA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.