THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER
(A Pendergast Novel)
By Preston & Child
Grand Central Publishing
We make no bones that we are devoted fans of this new pulp series. Special Agent Pendergast and his revolving cast of supporting characters are truly colorful and memorable. In this, the sixteen entry, the authors pick up from the dramatic cliffhanger they ended book fifteen, “Crimson Shore.” We won’t tell you what that dangling question was on the off chance some of you are playing catch up and have yet to read it.
Rather we will say the tale opens with Pendergast away from his home on Riverside Drive in New York City, leaving his ward, Constance Greene, chauffeur and bodyguard Proctor and household keeper, Mrs. Trask, to fend for themsevles. Not a good thing when his younger brother, supposedly dead, invades the domicile, subdues Proctor and kidnaps Ms. Greene. Here we should let you know, Diogenes is as great a villain as his brother is a hero. A psychotic genius whose level of cruelty is beyond measure and the one true advisory our protagonist has yet to adequately best.
And with that kidnapping begins a globe trotting chase around the glove, as a frantic Proctor, whose responsibility it was to protect the girl, spares no effort or money to go after them wherever they are bound. That this madcap race takes up the first quarter if the entire book will tell you at what a frenetic pace “The Obsidian Chamber” is propelled. By the time our hero does arrive on the scene, having barely escaped the clutches of a gang of drug smugglers off the coast of Maine, we readers are whipping through pages faster and faster. How on earth is Pendergast ever going to get up to speed? And therein lays the talent of this superb writing team in that they set out that solution so logically via what past books have established; that he is no mere mortal. Pendergast is a man of superior intellect and imagination and he how he employs those talents to solve the most bizarre challenge he has ever faced is the delight of this book.
As with all series pulp adventures, some often time feel like obligatory fillers and are soon forgotten when a new chapter arrives. While others, like “The Obsidian Chamber” hit so many right notes as to create a melody masterpiece of plotting and pace so spectacular that the tune will reverberate in your minds long after you’ve finished the last page.