Book Reviews: Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child and Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Cold Vengeance
(Special Agent Pendergast)
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing, August 2011
ISBN No. 978-0-446-55498-5
Hardcover

Pendergast has discovered that Helen, his wife, was murdered and now he seeks revenge.  Judson Esterhazy, Helen’s brother, is equally determined that Pendergast be stopped from investigating Helen’s death and if the only way to stop Pendergast is to arrange for him to die then that is what must be done.

Judson thinks that he has managed to put an end to his brother-in-law’s inquiries but he is wrong.  Pendergast is still alive and more determined than ever to find out the whole story behind the death of his beloved wife.

Pendergast’s search into the past is a journey that moves from Scotland to New York and on to Louisiana.  Old secrets are uncovered and the story is like a jigsaw puzzle with such odd shaped pieces that it is hard to determine how it will ever come together.  Pendergast is shocked to find that Helen may have played a large part in her own death.

This book involves many of the characters from previous Pendergast novels and brings back a young woman who first became involved with Pendergast in the book Still Life With Crows. She was my favorite character from that book and she is just as daring in Cold Vengeance.

Cold Vengeance is an exciting book and one I’m very glad I read but the puzzle isn’t finished.  Pendergast’s fans will have to wait for the next book to know the entire story.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2011.

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Started Early, Took My Dog
Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown and Company, March 2011
ISBN No. 978-0316066730
Hardcover

Reading Started Early, Took My Dog is a little like working a giant, complicated jigsaw puzzle.  There is a neglected dog who finds a home and a neglected child who finds a new mother.

Jackson Brodie, private investigator, is on a mission to find the biological parents of his client, Hope Masters, who was adopted and moved with her new parents to New Zealand when she was a child.    Brodie picks up a dog named The Ambassador when he catches the dog’s owner mistreating the dog.  Jackson saves the dog and The Ambassador travels with Brodie as Brodie works to discover what happened in Hope’s past and how her adoption came about.

Matilda Squires, whose nickname is Tilly, plays the mother of Collier, the star of a popular TV series.  Tilly is in the early stages of dementia and is about to be killed off on the TV show.  Just where Tilly fits into the puzzle is a little difficult to figure out but Tilly is a likeable character.

Tracy Waterhouse is a retired police detective who was one of the first on the scene in a murder that happened in 1975.  The story jumps from the present time to 1975 and back again. Tracy has been haunted for years by the death of the prostitute and the fact that the prostitute’s child had been in the apartment with the dead mother for weeks.  When the present day Tracy sees an opportunity to save another child she jumps on it even though buying a child is against the law.

Linda Pollister is a social worker who fits into the present day as well as the period in 1975.  She plays a small but important part in solving the puzzle.

When all the puzzle pieces come together, the truth of what happened back in 1975 when a prostitute is found murdered is revealed, and the book ends with a satisfying and surprising conclusion.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, March 2011.