Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Brimstone.
At a fabulous Hampton estate, the charred body of a notorious art critic is found in a room locked from the inside, and where nothing else is even singed. A cloven footprint burnt into the floor is the only clue. Is it a rare case of spontaneous human combustion, or is it the Devil coming to claim his due? Typically, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is on the scene, despite resistance from local police force. Upon spotting his former NYPD friend Vincent DíAgosta working as a downtrodden Hampton officer, Pendergast soon gets him involved in the case as a FBI liaison.
When other successful people are found dead in the same unholy manner, an uproar begins as the press and public are soon a rife with rumors of the Devil, the imminent coming of the Apocalypse and other Doomsday predictions. Only the suave, rich and cultured Pendergast, with the help of his no-nonsense companion DíAgosta, continues to believe in a far more prosaic explanation. Thus begins an investigation that takes these two intrepid men from the depths of the past to the heights of the future, from New York to Italy, in search of a truth thatís as deadly as it is inhuman.
After the stupendous success of The Cabinet of Curiosities, authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have established a well-deserved reputation for creating cerebral and literary mysteries, and so it is with Brimstone. Beginning with the title, the entire story toys with the idea that the Devil is real, and naturally thereís a suitably prophetic and horror-filled aura thatís as scary as it is effective. That doesnít mean this is a horror book Ė on the contrary, the literary and cultural depths which this story plumbs, the authentic historical details it incorporates, all suggest many other likely explanations and the result is a plot thatís multi-directional and a mystery thatís extremely complex and a story thatís a curious mix of scholarly and action-packed murder investigation. Characters are brought to life, whether itís the rich Holmesian Pendergast or his common-man Watson, DíAgosta. The story is also rich in atmospheric details, whether describing a crime scene or a manor home, Italy of a bygone era or the Harlem of today. All put together, Brimstone can easily be recommended as a book well worth reading, whether one is fan of mysteries or not.