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Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

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A secret chamber.
A mysterious shipwreck.
A murder in the desolate salt marshes.
A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated-and sinister-than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated.
Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.
Pendergast and Constance soon learn that Exmouth is a town with a very dark and troubled history, and this skeleton may be only the first hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years. But they will discover that the sins of the past are still very much alive. Local legend holds that during the 1692 witch trials in Salem, the real witches escaped, fleeing north to Exmouth and settling deep in the surrounding salt marshes, where they continued to practice their wicked arts.
Then, a murdered corpse turns up in the marshes. The only clue is a series of mysterious carvings. Could these demonic symbols bear some relation to the ancient witches’ colony, long believed to be abandoned?
A terrible evil lurks beneath the surface of this sleepy seaside town-one with deep roots in Exmouth’s grim history. And it may be that Constance, with her own troubled past, is the only one who truly comprehends the awful danger that she, Pendergast, and the residents of Exmouth must face . . .

Review

Bones will speak, the marshes will speak, relics of the past, legends and mystical things, all things will go arie .
A mystery of the caliber that you would expect penned by the duo Child and Preston with the main protagonist, the very unique FBI special agent, Pendergast centre stage of a gothic landscape and a gothic mystery tale in all the sense of the word.
Something that started as a simple case of a mystery behind a stolen expensive wine, losses all its simplicity with mysterious goings on, “something else going on in the town of Exmouth, something dark, strange, beyond ratiocination,”  with things from past, including: covens, a disappearing ship, ancient carvings, and a lighthouse.
There is plenty to keep you reading.
The story reads with great pace, visceral and with fine details and at the same time easy reading prose, not laden with too much cerebral stalling in the pace.
The authors have dealt an exquisite meal to savour and the wine taste will stay long after the dessert in your mouth to mull over.

 

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Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 01 November 2015