Book Review of The Scorpion’s Tail by Preston and Child – Intriguing Read
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – The Scorpion’s Tail
This is my first outing with Mr. Douglas Preston and Mr. Lincoln Child (eerily similar in nomenclature to Lee Child) and I must say that I will have to keep coming back to these guys. Though I cannot say that they have blown me off my feet, this one was particularly a little slow to grow on me, but the second half of the book really picks up the pace and you rush through them in a jiffy! This is the second book in the Nora Kelly series- Corrie Swanson series after OLD BONES, though this is perfectly readable as a standalone book.
The local sheriff of Soccoro County, New Mexico, Homer Watts stumbles upon a local relic hunter, Pick Rivers digging up a grave in a desolate ghost town, High Lonesome. After a brief gunfight, Rivers is arrested but the body he was digging up turns out to be the mummified remains of a local man dead for nearly seventy years. He seems to have died a violent death on what is now federal land. Enter rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson, who herself is coming off a botched shootout and its related psychological after-effects.
Though rattling through some old bones isn’t exactly Corrie’s cup of tea, but she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to make a name for herself within the FBI. She brings on-board her foe turned friend Nora Kelly – senior curator at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute for excavating the body and exploring the neighboring region for signs of any archaeological finds. Though initially, Nora is reluctant to join the investigation, she relents, and as she delves deeper into the provenance of the body, she discovers startling facts that pique her curiosity big time.
The man and the thick golden Cross found with him are found to be highly radioactive, which adds another element of a surprising twist to the narrative. With the help of locals and some smart detective work, the man’s identity is finally established and kin found but then the investigation blunders into a far more sinister plot than Corrie and Nora could have imagined. There are forces at work which will stop at nothing, even murder, to throw the investigation off its rails and it’s no longer a simple case of a decades-old homicide that teases and then again reverts back to being a cold case.
Conclusion – Book Review of The Scorpion’s Tale
According to me, the best part of this book was the authors’ vivid description of the region around High Lonesome – surrounded by Jornada Del Muerto or Dead Man’s Journey – an arid semi-desert area. The climate, the sweeping vistas, and the flora of the area are so well described that the reader is almost physically transported to the area. It subtly and sometimes not so subtly hints at the encroachment of the settlers onto native American land, and the irreversible damage it caused to the flourishing culture and livelihoods of the Apaches and other Native Americans who resided there.
Overall, a nice book, definitely worth a read, and I intend on coming back to these authors in the near future. In case you have read their previous works, you would understand what I’m talking about. I particularly loved their writing style, generously sprinkled with the description of the local landscape, reminding me of what Wilbur Smith does – but that’s at another level altogether. Anyway, go read this now….