History and Psychology Merge in Preston and Child’s ‘Bloodless’ [REVIEW]

Does a 50-year-old hijacking case hold the answers to Agent Pendergast’s latest head scratcher? (Photo courtesy Canva)

In the deep South, an inexplicable phenomenon is happening that is anything but genteel. Dead bodies are being discovered in Savannah, Georgia. While the rising body count is indeed unsettling, it’s the fact that each body has been completely drained of blood that’s the most unnerving part. Is there some truth to local lore? Or is there a flesh-and-blood killer on the loose? Preston and Child’s beloved FBI Special Agent A. X. L. Pendergast returns to investigate a most macabre mystery in Bloodless.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's BLOODLESS
Grand Central

As I read Bloodless, I had a nagging sense of déjà vu, the feeling that I had encountered a similar storyline somewhere before. Then it hit me. This novel is reminiscent of one of my favorite television shows, Fringe, by J.J. Abrams. In case you’ve never seen it, each week characters would experience a scientific anomaly that just couldn’t be explained. It was kind of an updated X-Files type show, and the case in Bloodless is just as perplexing. Therefore, I was eager to find out who—or what—is behind the mayhem.

For those of you familiar with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s long-running series, you know that Agent Pendergast is no stranger to this kind of mystery. After all, he and his partner, Agent Coldmoon, have investigated unexplained phenomena before, so they have become quiet adept at handling these bizarre—and sometimes unthinkable—cases with finesse and diplomacy. But where should they begin searching for answers this time around?

Per their usual, Preston and Child have combined the elements of history and science to tell a story that is both fascinating and chilling. Here, however, they have also added a compelling psychological element that taps into the inscrutable feelings of the human heart.

They even weave in a captivating thread about a man who hijacks a plane for no apparent reason just before he plummets to the Earth without a trace. The end result is a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable—and thoroughly trippy—ride, one which turns reality on its head and memories are rendered unreliable. If you crave a story that bares its teeth and boldly goes for the jugular, refusing to let go of your attention until you turn the very last page, Bloodless is your kind of thriller.

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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 The Scorpion’s TailCrooked RiverOld Bones, and Verses for the Dead.

In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and National Geographic magazines. Lincoln Child is a Florida resident and former book editor who has published seven novels of his own, including such bestsellers as Full Wolf Moon and Deep Storm.

Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly “strangely entertaining note” from the authors, at their website, PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
(Photo by Deborah Feingold)

By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
400 pp. Grand Central. $29.

Purchase Bloodless direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, or Walmart.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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