City of Endless Night continues the exploration of a weary and wounded Agent Pendergast, a man unsettled emotionally, and very much off his game. What you might expect to be a sad, disappointing exploration of a hero who has lost his powers (so to speak), however, is instead a fascinating look at how that same hero emerges from his own darkness.
For their 17th book in the series, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child reunite Agent Pendergast with Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta, reuniting them in a case that harkens back to their earliest adventures, but which is also something new. The central mystery is entirely ordinary, devoid of even the hint of the supernatural, but a fitting commentary on the clash between poverty and the one-percenters, as well as the culture of 'fake news.' It's a fun mystery, involving locked rooms, James Bond type infiltrations, and decapitations, but the thrill here is less in the solution and more in the solving.
Watching Agent Pendergast come alive is a real treat, with the slow reveal of the personality traits, behaviors, and dialogue we've come to appreciate over the years. He moves from disinterested, to frustrated, to curious, to fully engaged . . . from mortally human to the intellectual superhero who blew our minds in the first few books. It all culminates in a cat-and-mouse game inside the ruins of an abandoned asylum where the hunter and the hunted are interchangeable, presenting him with a worthy adversary - and one who doesn't have the advantage of being family.
While it's a standalone thriller that does little to advance the overall mythology, City of Endless Night does feature a significant death. and has a gut-punch of an epilogue that demands we keep reading.
As if we could ever turn away.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Grand Central Publishing
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.