Book Review of Diablo Mesa by Preston and Child – Exciting Sequel
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – Diablo Mesa
Author duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have published the third novel in the series headlined by Archeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Special Agent Corey Swanson – Diablo Mesa (which is an uninhabited part of the desert in New Mexico). It follows the 2019 release, Old Bones and The Scorpion’s Tail in 2021. Though the duo has three full-size novels and one prequel of sorts, the two protagonists don’t really like each other and barely can work together. Though the uneasiness has reduced over the span of the three books, it does come across as a fresh perspective among the cosiness of crime-solving partners who are best buddies.
The Director of Santa Fe Archaeological Institute calls Nora into her office one morning and asks her to conduct an archaeological excavation at the fabled site of a supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico. It is being done at the behest of an eccentric billionaire, Lucas Tappan, who has pledged a hefty sum to the Institute, in return. But Nora refuses to run behind a whimsical fantasy of a billionaire and gets fired by her director. But not a man to take refusal easily, Tappan makes the offer directly to Nora and also hires her drifting brother Skip for the expedition. Running out of choices, Nora reluctantly accepts and embarks on the sceptical journey to locate a ‘supposed’ UFO.
The rumoured site of the UFO landing has been the subject of much speculation and alleged government cover-up. From a weather balloon to a nuclear missile – the explanation itself has varied wildly, leading to more speculation. But Tappan has made all the proper arrangements – both in terms of staff as well as amenities at the dig site. Ground-penetrating radar, Lidar surveys and drone imagery have all been used to extensively study the area and Tappan and his early recon team are convinced that there is something other-worldly that is hidden there (or has been removed with traces left). Though Nora is not convinced at this paranormal speculation, she begins the dig at the prescribed location.
But soon, Nora and her team come across a ghastly find! Two corpses – one male and one female had been buried there around the same time and attempts were made to prevent their identification. Since the bodies were found on federal land, the FBI is notified and Agent Corey Swanson is assigned to the case. Through dogged and persistent investigation, along with some luck, Corey manages to identify the two dead bodies. Meanwhile, Nora and the exploring team deduce that the place where they were digging is probably an initial bump-off site and whatever crashed there, probably skipped off and landed somewhere else! But all this brouhaha has stirred up a hornet’s nest!
Powerful people, who are also part of the government, notice the disturbance caused by Nora and her team and they are hell-bent on protecting the secret from seventy years ago. Substantial military power is thrown at the intruders and lives are in grave danger, including those of Nora, her team, Lucas Tappan and Corey. Scrambling to unearth the baffling mystery and save their lives as well, Nora and Corey have to team up and solve this mystery – through a Hollywood-esque climax scene – which would have made Sylvester Stallone proud!
Conclusion – Book Review of Diablo Mesa
With all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster, Diablo Mesa makes an entertaining read! The haunting loneliness of the New Mexico desert makes an able backdrop to this part Sci-Fi, part paranormal thriller and the frenetic pace of writing also adds to the overall charm of the book. Like the others preceding this, Diablo Mesa is highly recommended for the weekend read, something you’d love to finish at one go…
*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *