Copyright 2011 by Gary L. Pullman
There are 80 chapters (405 pages) to Douglas Lincoln and Preston Child’s latest novel, Fever Dream, which will set you back $26.99 (retail hardback), if you decide to buy it. (I checked out a copy from my local library.) I have read only 15 chapters 83) pages so far, but find it, as I do most of this duo’s fiction, a page-turner. The synopsis of the plot provided by the book’s flyleaf does a good job of uniting the action in a succinct fashion, linking past to present and present to future:
Yesterday, Special Agent Pendergast still mourned the loss of his beloved wife, Helen, who died in a tragic accident in Africa twelve years ago.In earlier novels, the authors have provided dibs and dabs of their novels’ protagonist back story, building up the eccentric agent’s character so that he becomes both understandable and sympathetic. Other recurring characters are, perhaps, more loveable, but Pendergast, certainly, is most memorable. In this novel, he is humanized still further as he seeks to discover the truth behind his late wife’s murder.
Today, he discovers she was murdered.
Tomorrow, he will learn her most guarded secrets, leaving him to wonder: Who was the woman I married? And, above all. . . Who murdered her?
At the end of the story, when Fever Dream is over, Preston and Child surprise their readers with the announcement of their creation of a new detective of sorts, who will appear, they say, “in an exciting new series.” The “investigator,” Gideon Crew, the authors assure their readers, debuts in Gideon’s Sword, which is due to hit the bookstores (and, hopefully, the library shelves) “in the winter of 2011.” However, he will not replace Pendergast: The authors make it clear that they “will continue to write novels featuring the world’s most enigmatic FBI agent with the same frequency as before.”
Preston and Child claim that they “can’t give. . . any information about this novel except its title,” but mean, of course, that they won’t divulge any further information. Chillers and Thrillers will, however, courtesy of this synopsis of the novel’s plot by David Pitt of Book List:
Gideon Crew, the hero of Preston and Child’s new novel, has a complicated backstory. As a boy, he watched as his father, who had taken a man hostage, was shot down by a sniper. Less than a decade later, he learned from his mother that his father had been used by the U.S. government as a scapegoat for a failed intelligence project. After dispatching the man responsible for his father’s murder, Gideon is offered a job with a private contractor that does hush-hush work for the government. Gideon’s mission: to intercept a Chinese scientist and relieve him of the plans for a top-secret weapon. The mission doesn’t go as drawn, however, and Gideon is left with a mysterious string of numbers. Now, working mostly alone, he must determine what the numbers mean. This novel (which is apparently the first installment in a new series) isn’t as elegantly written or constructed as the authors’ popular Special Agent Pendergast novels, but it does—once you get past the backstory—hold the reader’s interest, and Gideon is undeniably a big-shouldered character, capable of supporting a series.I, for one, look forward to meeting Mr. Crew--and to continuing my acquaintance with Special Agent Pendergast. Now that you've been properly introduced to Gideon, maybe you'll look forward to meeting him, too.