Crimson Shore (Special Agent Pendergast Series #15)

Crimson Shore (Special Agent Pendergast Series #15)

3.9 45
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,


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 . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of Preston and Child’s solid 15th thriller featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after 2014’s Blue Labyrinth), Pendergast, unusually for him, agrees to accept a private case. Someone broke into the lighthouse where sculptor Percival Lake lives in Exmouth, Mass., and cleared out his wine cellar, except for one case of a very rare vintage. For reasons that are unclear to Pendergast’s ward, Constance Greene, Pendergast agrees to travel from his Manhattan home to Exmouth, where his inquiries reveal that Lake’s wine cellar contained a hidden chamber and human remains. The truth behind the crime may be connected to local legends regarding a witch colony and a demonic figure known as the Grey Reaper. Meanwhile, Pendergast looks into the stabbing murders of a local attorney and a historian researching Exmouth’s past, whose bodies were marked with the so-called Tybane Inscriptions. The genuine scares take a while to come, but when they do, readers will be reminded of the violent horror of Relic, Pendergast’s debut. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Small-town politics, murder, a century-old conspiracy, arson and a detective who embodies a modern-day Holmes add up to an amazing journey."—Associated Press on White Fire"

These dynamic authors' best thriller to date."—White Fire was one of Library Journal's Top 10 Thrillers of 2013"

Sherlock Holmes fans will relish Preston and Child's 13th novel featuring eccentric FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast (after 2012's Two Graves), one of their best in this popular series...easily stands on its own with only passing references to Pendergast's complex backstory."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) on White Fire"

Another highly entertaining and genuinely thrilling story from Preston & Child starring their romantic, faintly gothic, and always mysterious FBI agent, Aloysius Pendergast. As always the prose is elegant, replete with exquisite descriptions, and this time we're treated to dashes of historic characters Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, as well as a positively delicious serving of the great Sherlock Holmes. Through myriad shocks, surprises, twists and turns, the suspense never lets up. Great fun to the last page."—Anne Rice on White Fire"

The best Pendergast book yet - a collision between past and present that will leave you breathless."—Lee Child on White Fire"

Preston and Child have done it again! WHITE FIRE continues their white hot streak of bestselling suspense as the most eccentric and ruthlessly clever FBI agent in the business, Pendergast, takes on old money and even older secrets with some literary help from Sherlock Holmes. Simply brilliant!"—Lisa Gardner"

What Preston and Child are so good at are exemplified here: solid research, clear swift prose and enough twists to fill a jar of pretzels. Sit back, crack open the book and get ready for the ride of your life."—David Baldacci"

WHITE FIRE is a perfect introduction for any reader not yet acquainted with A.X.L. Pendergast, one of the most memorable detectives in contemporary thrillerdom."—Steve Berry"

I've read every Pendergast thriller. This is the most suspenseful and most horrifying of them all. This book holds chills you can't imagine. I'm still shuddering. I promise— you'll shudder, too."—R.L. Stine"

A mile-a-minute thriller with a deeply entertaining plot and marvelous characters, in a setting that will chill your blood, and not only because it's 10 degrees below zero and covered with snow. My copy is full of crumbs because I couldn't put it down long enough to eat."—Diana Gabaldon"

WHITE FIRE is as incandescent as its title, a beautifully organized, tautly paced book that really did just yank me in and demand that I keep reading. I'm very grateful for the experience."—Peter Straub"

Preston and Child have created a terrific mix of mystery and the unexpected that will keep you reading into the late hours of the night. They promise a great read and they have delivered."—Clive Cussler

Library Journal
★ 11/01/2015
Agent Pendergast is back! Taking on a case involving a stolen wine collection would seem to underutilize his superior detective wizardry, but the pay is a bottle of priceless wine. How can he resist? He and his ward Constance head to the tiny town of Exmouth on the rocky Massachusetts coast. Examining the scene of the crime shows that more than wine was stolen from that particular cellar. As Pendergast and Constance investigate the theft, a visiting historian is murdered. Odd symbols linked to witchcraft are carved in unusual places, including the historian's body. A village legend of witches escaping Salem in the 1690s is only one of the puzzles deepening the mystery. Preston and Child's (Relic, Blue Labyrinth) famous agent believes the legends are red herrings. Even when the mystery is solved, it seems that some small-town secrets are deeper than even Aloysius Pendergast had realized. VERDICT Anyone who enjoys deep intrigue with a historian's viewpoint or a touch of macabre or gothic horror will love this adventure. New readers will be hooked and scrambling to catch up with the first 14 books. Die-hard fans will add this to their must-read lists. [See Prepub Alert, 5/11/15; November LibraryReads Pick.]—Elizabeth Masterson, Mecklenburg Cty. Jail Lib., Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Amid the salt marshes near Exmouth, Massachusetts, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds an antique medallion of Morax, a demon. Is there a connection to the deliberate sinking of the cargo ship Pembroke Castle by desperate town folk in 1884? In Preston and Child's (Blue Labyrinth, 2014, etc.) latest, renowned sculptor Percival Lake asks the weird and wily Pendergast to find his looted wine collection. Oddly, the thieves left behind a case of the rarest vintage, Chateau Haut-Braquilanges '04. Intrigued, Pendergast and his ward, Constance, drive to seaside Exmouth, where they meet an incompetent police chief who's overlooked a skeleton long ago walled up in Lake's wine cellar. Pendergast discovers the hidden skeleton is linked to a missing suite of flawless rubies, the Pride of Africa. In the "lean winter" of 1883-84, featuring disastrous weather caused by a faraway volcanic eruption, townspeople doused the lighthouse and lured Pembroke Castle, carrying the rubies, aground. The grounding and what followed became an atrocity shadowing Exmouth history. Oenophiles will shudder as the wine theft turns sideshow after a historian tracing the shipwreck and a local attorney are killed. Both have "TYBANE" carved into their corpses. Those new to the series get no back story on Pendergast, not on FBI assignment in this case, or Constance, but the book is entertaining, spiced up with arcane words like "desuetude" and quirky descriptions—a body found with a crab "cowering in the comb-over." Employing Chongg Ran meditation and a Les Baer .45, Pendergast is an appealingly quirky hero, as when he remarks of Moby-Dick, "I, myself, am not fond of animal stories." Pendergast is a modern Sherlock Holmes, albeit one preferring absinthe to cocaine. The conclusion of this compelling two-prong mystery assures another crime conundrum is sure to wash ashore.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Special Agent Pendergast Series , #15
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.25(d)

Meet the Author

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Brief Biography

Place of Birth:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
B.A., Pomona College, 1978

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Crimson Shore 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Preston and Childs do it again with another great thriller. Just when it looks like the story is over, you realize it's really just beginning. Intriguing interactions between Aloysius and Constance, with visits from familiar characters make the reader comfortable but eager to continue reading. The ending? I just said WHAA!? Please don't wait a year for the next one. Don't miss this one-it was worth the wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book more than any so far in the series. I almost gave it 5 stars but I have to reserve that for books that are so far above all the rest that they are incredibly rare. I feel ilke Preston and Childs have finally returned to their old style of writing. This book was action packed but what really sets it apart is the unique plot and the overall flow of the story. I especially liked how the setting was more rural and how Constance had a bigger role than usual. Plus, Pendergast for some reason didn't seem quite as overbearing and arrogant as usual. Stephanue Clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How will I ever be able to wait until the next book! I just love this book. Thank you so much for hours of total enjoyment. PH
Anonymous 11 months ago
The latest in my all time favorite book series is just as engaging as it's predecessors. These books for me are like visiting ones home town and old friends. As usual can't wait for the next pendergast novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that Diogenes is back! Remember to assume nothing...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No spoilers here, just enjoy the story. Be sure to read the 1 page pre-story from the news letter!
Anonymous 6 months ago
First book read from Preston and Child loved it! The story has enough excitment and suspense to keep the reader guessing about the end. Just when you think you have figured out the plot a new twist turns up. I will definitely order more.
Anonymous 11 months ago
All I can say is upon finishing this excellent work, I wish the next book in this series was available now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grabs you early and holds until the end .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, the authors have come up another great story. A few nice twist and turns. And once again, the reader is left hanginng at the end of the story, looking for the next in the series to find out what happened to our hero! Stay tuned.
Regmmalf More than 1 year ago
This book seemed like one author wrote the first 2/3 and the other tacked on the last third. Talk about a bizarre change of pace! Mild Sherlock Holmes-like plus a horror novel on the end. And of course, the last page cliff-hanger!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for the next book . We get a glimpse of who Constance really is . This book is a prelude to another series of adventures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again Preston and Child deliver an extraordinary tale. WITHOUT A DOUBT a book worth reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will always be a fan, he rocks - awesomeness
Anonymous 5 months ago
jldarden 5 months ago
I found this one of the weakest entries in the series. It should have ended after the solving of the current crimes. The introduction of some 'creature' seemed to come out of left field. The awkward near intimate moment between Pendergast and Constance seemed out of character for both of them. And bringing back a lost nemesis seemed a desperate attempt to enliven things. OK for series diehards but not a good one.
Anonymous 8 months ago
I have been a big fan of this series but this latest work was disappointing. I thought the story line was weak compared to the others and the ending is another repeat. It seems like the duo are running out of fresh ideas. How many times can you bring a person back from the dead?
Anonymous 9 months ago
Excellent read more excitement added to the series!
Anonymous 10 months ago
I have read all of the Pendergast books since The Relic published in 1995 and have loved them all. This one is the first one I didn't really like. Pendergast has become even more condescending and cruel to EVERYONE he meets. I didn't like the way he put people down and seemed to enjoy making even the most innocent person appear to be too stupid to breath. I have always loved the way he seems to solve seemingly unsolvable puzzles and this book is no exception, but the way he goes about it was a bit disturbing to me. Finally getting to see the more of the development of Constance. The plot twists were the saving factors of the book for me.
Anonymous 11 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book until the last part. I also felt like one person wrote 2/3 and there was some argument as to how to end it. I feel like Constance won the argument and Pentergast lost...I will recommend the book as usual but just left me annoyed.
Windbigler More than 1 year ago
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
The writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child has a fascinating way of leading readers to the edge of a cliff and then pulling the rug out from under them in one swift move. The twists and turns in Preston & Child’s latest release, CRIMSON SHORE, takes readers/listeners on a roller coaster ride of thrills before delivering a dramatic and unforeseen ending. Narrator Renė Auberjonois does a superb job giving voice to protagonist Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast and his ward, Constance Greene, as well as the other cast of characters. His mannerisms and cadence is spot on and enhances this mystery. Auberjonois brings the emotions of the characters and the suspense of the tale to the surface making the listener feel a part of the action. Pendergast and Constance arrive in the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, MA, to investigate the simple theft of a resident’s priceless wine collection. But their investigation quickly uncovers bits of a skeleton in a hidden partition of the wine cellar. With a dark and troubled history, Exmouth holds many secrets that some residents will do anything to keep buried. When a historian is found murdered with demonic carvings on his body, talk of a secret witch society and a mysterious shipwreck in the town’s past begin to surface. A second body is found and Pendergast and Constance must get to the root of the killings before more of the town’s residents are destroyed by the evils of the past. CRIMSON SHORE holds you spellbound from the beginning to the climax end. The story flows smoothly and at a quick pace. Readers/listeners are kept guessing what the secrets are and who is really involved as the authors weave a twisted tale of intrigue. Fans of the Agent Pendergast series will quickly devour this latest nugget of suspense and conspiracy. While new readers/listeners can enjoy this story on its own, it will be better understood if it follows he previous installments in the series in order. Chalked full of enigmas and double-dealing, CRIMSON SHORE is a mesmerizing adventure. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago