Verses for the Dead

Verses for the Dead

Large Print - 2018
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Grand Central Pub
In this #1 New York Times bestseller, FBI Agent Pendergast reluctantly teams up with a new partner to investigate a rash of Miami Beach murders . . . only to uncover a deadly conspiracy that spans decades.

After an overhaul of leadership at the FBI's New York field office, A. X. L. Pendergast is abruptly forced to accept an unthinkable condition of continued employment: the famously rogue agent must now work with a partner.

Pendergast and his new colleague, junior agent Coldmoon, are assigned to investigate a rash of killings in Miami Beach, where a bloodthirsty psychopath is cutting out the hearts of his victims and leaving them with cryptic handwritten letters at local gravestones. The graves are unconnected save in one bizarre way: all belong to women who committed suicide.

But the seeming lack of connection between the old suicides and the new murders is soon the least of Pendergast's worries. Because as he digs deeper, he realizes the brutal new crimes may be just the tip of the iceberg: a conspiracy of death that reaches back decades.


Baker & Taylor
Forced to work with a partner after organizational changes at the FBI's New York field office, infamous maverick agent Pendergast teams up with junior agent Coldmoon on a grisly serial murder case on Miami Beach. (mystery & detective). Simultaneous.

Publisher: New York :, Grand Central Publishing Large Print,, 2018
Edition: First large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781538715482
Branch Call Number: LP MYSTERY PRE
Characteristics: 434 pages ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Child, Lincoln - Author

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From the critics


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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

Only 2 quotes in goodread this morning. More herein:

Twinkle would get some discipline tonight: no Fig Newton with his Purina.
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“I want you to accept my condolences on the death of Howard Longstreet. He was a superb intelligence director, and I understand something of a mentor to you.” “He was the finest man I ever knew, save one.”
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Unlike knives, blunt conversations make for the quickest work.
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The temperature in the sauna rose to a toasty 180 degrees. Pendergast straightened his tie, refolded one leg over the other. He did not even appear to be sweating.
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Indeed, since their rather abrupt return to the mansion just over a week before, Pendergast had seemed especially attentive to Constance. Even Proctor, Pendergast’s stoic chauffeur-cum-bodyguard, had mentioned it to Mrs. . . . . Trask .
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Miami Beach Boardwalk, a pedestrian boulevard that hugged the oceanfront from Indian Beach Park down almost to the port of Miami.

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

“What exactly do you hope to find? Hoping she’ll speak to you from the Wanagi Tacanku?”
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Sherlock Holmes used the process of induction — not deduction. ”
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“That’s Saint Jude Thaddeus,” the woman said. Pendergast turned it over in his hands. “The patron saint of lost causes.”
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“And you believe there must have been signs or clues you or your husband missed. But as difficult as it is, you should know: suicides that come without warning are the hardest to cope with — and with the only voice that can explain them gone, the ones that most defy comprehension What you must not do is blame yourselves.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

Jenny had wandered through her share of trendy neighborhoods — the Lower East Side, the Mission, LA’s Venice and Silver Lake — but she’d never before experienced such a motley assortment of hipsters, punks, cybergoths, gang-bangers, surfers, losers, stoners, posers, and countless other subspecies, all mingled together into one volatile soup.
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But there’s a great difference between looking for a killer and finding him. Who knows where he will strike again? The next here, if there is one, may be Alaska. No — the best place to pick up his trail is at the beginning,
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The normally phlegmatic Coldmoon took a step toward Corvin, so close his chest was actually touching the bouncer’s crossed arms. He leaned into his face and spoke in a whisper. “Did you just say ‘fucking’ car? About my Shelby? ”
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“There are always strangers — tourists — in town that time of year,” replied Waintree. “Right up to the last leaf falling.

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

“Parking ticket? What are you talking about? ” “Because you’ve got fine written all over you!”
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Joseph, legendary leader of the Nez Percé: White men have too many chiefs.
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No civilized person should have to set foot willingly in Orlando.
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“Human behavior falls into patterns. No behavior is truly unique. The ViCAP database covers all known serial killers : MO , victim data , crime scene descriptions , laboratory reports , criminal history records , statements , psychological analyses — in short , everything associated with every crime . By plugging the facts we know about a given serial killer into the database, we can often extrapolate the facts we don’t know
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When he was a boy, his grandmother had explained that at birth a person received the life - breath from Wakan Tanka, which at death flew back to the spirit world in a flash of light.

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

“When one detonates a nuclear bomb,” Pendergast said, “the shadows left behind on the walls are rarely able to protest.”
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Funny how cops always seemed to prefer comfort food when they went off shift — just like they seemed to prefer bars with the word Tavern in their names.
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“The question always comes up: what can you tell about the perp from the handwriting? I’m afraid that in the past twenty to thirty years, the ‘science’ of handwriting analysis — graphology — has been thoroughly debunked. ”
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You didn’t notice light during the day; you were immersed in it; you put on your sunglasses and ignored it. But at night it was different. Darkness was like the setting of a gemstone, and the qualities of light were as numerous as its colors: soft, low, intense, gauzy, and tremulous.

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

As a child , before the Death and the Journey , he had read and loved the little books about Archy and Mehitabel , their humorous verses and stories — Archy , a free - verse poet who’d been reincarnated as a cockroach , and Mehitabel , a scruffy alley cat . He identified with them both. They were nobodies, too; vermin, despised by the world. But they had nobility, and it was right that he named his tools after them.
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I know Pendergast. Sooner or later he’s going to do something crazy. Something out of left field, or of questionable ethics, or even specifically against orders.
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Pendergast’s like a serpent in the garden. My garden.
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The deceased’s name. ” He turned to Coldmoon. “ Do you see anything odd? ” “The whole thing is odd.”
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“Pickett’s going to have a fit if you ask him to do that a second time.” “We have higher loyalties than a man’s ill temper, do we not, Agent Coldmoon?”

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

Growing up in South Dakota, Coldmoon had loved the hot, dry summers. But Miami was a different beast entirely. Here it was, just turning April, and already every day seemed hotter than the last. It was so damn humid that your body, in a futile effort to cool down, would get drenched with sweat that wouldn’t evaporate. And the sun didn’t come at you gently, like it did in the northern latitudes, but hammered straight down on you mercilessly, like a white - hot frying pan over the head.
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I’ve always liked the West. Florida is too flat. And too green. ”
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You’re an iconoclast — and you enjoy being one.
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“A lie is a lie, even in Lakota.” “On the reservation the elders had a saying — the only person worse than a liar is a hypocrite.”
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Perhaps, growing up, you heard the aphorism ‘It takes a thousand voices to tell one story. ’ No — this story will be told a different way, with different voices.

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

Florida, he’d learned that it seemed to have four distinct habitats: coastal boulevards for the über - rich; gated subdivisions for affluent retirees; bleak neighborhoods out of Grand Theft Auto — and swamp.
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How the hell did these Floridians manage to get through a morning, let alone an entire day, without wilting?
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“Coffee, partner?” Another, longer pause. Then Pendergast accepted the cup; took a small, tentative sip. “The floral bouquet of poison sumac blooms first on the palate,” he announced. “ Followed by notes of diesel oil and a long finish
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the layout of Florida was bizarre : millions of people pressed against the coasts like ants , and in the middle nothing but lakes , orange groves , cattle ranches , and — of course — swamps .

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

“Yeah. But did you ever see the movie Deliverance? ” “No. ” “Well, all I can say is, if I start hearing any banjos, I’m turning the hell around.”
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“After you, kemosabe.”
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I’ve never driven a boat before. My preferred mode of travel is a horse, and they aren’t usually equipped with GPS. ”
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Cape buffalo: flee, drawing the shooter out of the house in pursuit, then circle back around and take him from behind.
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You’re the one responsible for this entire chain of killings. In fact, you’ve been the primum mobile all along.
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‘Death has a hundred hands and walks by a thousand ways. ’ ”
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Violence is an answer — but it’s the last answer. ”
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“Feel the pain in others you have caused, through violence. Feel the loss — the terror and sorrow. That’s the beginning of atonement. ”

j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground, Held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
Said, “Is it good, friend?” “It is bitter — bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it “Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
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We may never understand the motivations that led to his murderous rampage.
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Henry Miller wrote that “until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing.” Perhaps all we can do, then, is accept the fact that this tragedy happened, and hope that — with such acceptance — understanding will eventually follow.
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Killing as Catharsis.
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Who can guess what went on in that damaged, tormented mind during these ten years of hospitalization?

Comment

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j
jimg2000
Mar 06, 2019

With his ward Constance back at the Riverside Drive mansion attended to by Proctor and Mrs. Trask, Pandergast is assigned by his new boss to investigate a Miami murder case that came under the FBI jurisdiction. I am not sure, but this seems to be the first time Pandergast has teamed up with minority sidekicks, a phlegmatic agent of South Dakota Lakota descent and a determined African American female assistant Medical Examiner. A very twisty and dangerous case that has no clear answers to everything but an enjoyable read overall.

m
midori_hon
Mar 01, 2019

i prefer the earlier books in this series with their supernatural elements but am grateful for the absence of both helen and constance.

h
hawaiianpride66
Feb 26, 2019

Loved it! I hadn't read a Pendergast book in a while, and it was like visiting an old friend. Sometimes after authors have used the same character in several books, the character seems to fade somewhat, but these two authors have kept him witty, sharp, and charming.

PimaLib_ChristineR Feb 12, 2019

My blood alone remains. Take it, but don't let me suffer long.

Preston and Child have another great entry in the Pendergast series, and redeem themselves from the mess that was The Pharaoh Key.

Pendergast's longtime boss at the FBI's New York office, Longstreet, has died. Now Pendergast must deal with a new boss, Pickett, who is on the fast-track because of his ability to organize and encourage, but he sees Pendergast as a maverick who must either return to the fold or be banished to the hinterlands of FBIdom. Of course, that means teaming Pendergast up with an outward polar-opposite in Agent Coldmoon, a casual dressing Oglala Sioux. It appears that Pickett's plan is to give Pendergast enough rope to hang himself by.

This time Pedergast is sent to Miami to deal with "Mister Brokenhearts," a cold-blooded killer who leaves freshly removed hearts and letters of remorse on the headstones of a series of unrelated suicides.

As usual, the authors plow full-speed-ahead on the plot. And I have to say, that they surprised me a couple of times. I thought they were going to take the easy way out, but they didn't. Several story lines begin to converge and there are one or two plot twists I never saw coming. Preston and Child also throw us several side-characters who appear to be perfect fodder for the killer, and based off of past novels, I was just waiting to see who took an ax to the chest. Now you'll have to find out for yourself. I also liked how they played the Pickett angle. Let's just say he's not what he first appears to be.

I have read several novels lately that would never be considered "the canon" but have used poetic and literary devices to great effect and this is no exception. From the quote above, attributed to Marie Antoinette, to the letters left on the graves, each of which uses a reference to a work of literature, including Ian McEwan's Atonement, the authors use literature to not only define the unknown killer but to set the tone of the novel, where two men of different backgrounds find commonality by sharing quotes and sayings that create a kind of shorthand for friendship and trust.

I took a star off for overplaying Pendergast's wealth. It's almost as though they felt that since he didn't have his Rolls and wasn't home in his mansion, they had to make sure everyone understood just how wealthy Pendergast is. We got it. I don't need to know about his "especially fine" hat. There was also one line of dialogue that pulled me right out of the book's atmosphere. Pickett says "I want you to accept my condolences on the death of Howard Longstreet." Hmmm... Do people say such things? "I want you to accept my condolences" instead of "I want to offer my condolences"? It was just odd.

Overall, if you like this series I don't think you'll be disappointed with this entry.

c
cdarin11
Jan 22, 2019

I agree that Preston and Child are showing their age. There are certain similarities to Jilliane Hoffman's Last Witness from 2005.
The Miami location, serial killer taking hearts, and "good guy" turning out bad are very familiar. The young FBI Agent and the female pathologist are interesting. Perhaps a book featuring them could be forthcoming?

p
pjfsteen
Sep 26, 2018

Pendergast

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