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White Fire    by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child order for
White Fire
by Douglas Preston
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Corrie Swanson is determined to win a coveted scholarship at John Jay College for Criminal Justice. Her thesis revolves around the mystery surrounding the grisly deaths of a handful of miners who lived in Roaring Fork Colorado over a century ago. The one time gold mining town is now an exclusive ski resort and to aid in its expansion the historic cemetery has been unearthed to make room for condominiums. Corrie realises it's the perfect opportunity for her to prove that the unfortunate miners hadn't succumbed to a raging grizzly attack at all, that their demise could have been at the hands of fellow miners.

With the support of her mentor, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, Corrie sets out to prove her theory, but in short order becomes the target of locals determined to stop her from exposing the town's dark and bloody past. When Pendergast arrives to help, he quickly uncovers even more tantalizing secrets about Roaring Fork's past, including a chance meeting between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, and a lost Sherlock Holmes story that would finally reveal the miners' true fate.

Pendergast continues to defy convention at every turn with his often-devious brilliance and his masterful methods of putting those who get in his way in their place. His moments in this story shine as he not only works his almost superhuman magic to help Corrie, but also investigates a Sherlockian mystery that adds a breath of fresh air to an overall pedestrian plot.

Unfortunately, though, there aren't enough Pendergast moments in White Fire, given the fact that the authors chose to give Corrie the starring role. While the mystery she's trying to solve is engaging enough, she makes far too many stupid decisions throughout the book, ones that continuously pull her, as well as Pendergast and others, into unnecessary danger. Whatever investigative potential Pendergast sees in her baffles me.

Here's hoping that the next instalment sees Aloysius suggesting Corrie stay put at John Jay and includes my preferred regulars; detective D'Agosta, the enigmatic Constance and Pendergast's recently discovered son Tristram.

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