Crooked River

Crooked River

Book - 2020 | First edition
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Appearing out of nowhere to horrify the quiet resort town of Sanibel Island, Florida, dozens of identical, ordinary-looking shoes float in on the tide and are washed up on the tropical beach--each one with a crudely severed human foot inside. Called away from vacation elsewhere in the state, Agent Pendergast reluctantly agrees to visit the crime scene--and, despite himself, is quickly drawn in by the incomprehensible puzzle. An early pathology report only adds to the mystery. With an ocean of possibilities confronting the investigation, no one is sure what happened, why, or from where the feet originated. And they desperately need to know: are the victims still alive? In short order, Pendergast finds himself facing the most complex and inexplicable challenge of his career: a tangled thread of evidence that spans seas and traverses continents, connected to one of the most baffling mysteries in modern medical science. Through shocking twists and turns, all trails lead back to a powerful adversary with a sadistic agenda and who--in a cruel irony--ultimately sees in Pendergast the ideal subject for their malevolent research.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781538702956
1538702959
Branch Call Number: Lg Print Fiction Pre
Characteristics: 575 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print
Additional Contributors: Child, Lincoln - Author

Opinion

From Library Staff

February 4, 2020


From the critics


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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

Sanibel and Captiva Islands, off the southwestern coast of Florida, were known for some of the best shelling in the world. They reached out into the Gulf of Mexico like a net, catching all sorts of mollusks, dead and alive, and strewing them along the sand. A brief storm had passed through the night before they’d arrived, which turned out to be a piece of luck: apparently, that always brought in more shells.
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Balenciaga Triple S or Yeezys often sold for three or four hundred dollars, when you could find them in stock. And if you were really lucky, and scored a rare pair like the Air Jordan 11 Blackouts, you could sell them used on eBay for four figures, easy.
===
She was young, in her early twenties, and as Pickett approached he saw she was strikingly beautiful, with violet eyes and dark hair cut in a short, stylish bob. She was dressed in pale organdy and was holding a book in one hand — a French book, apparently, titled À rebours.

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

When the tides are right — as they are now, just on the ebb — any floating debris tends to stick together and not disperse before reaching land. These islands are uniquely located in terms of ocean currents, which focus flotsam into a narrow lane and cause immense quantities of shells to wash up.”
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we get through this as best we can. Non omnia possumus omnes.” Pendergast glanced at him with faint amusement. “Are you a Latin scholar as well as a police chief?” Perelman shrugged. “Some things were best said by Virgil.”
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“Some laws are stupid. Some people are stupid. My job was to show people why peaceful coexistence was better than getting jammed up or thrown in jail.” “A Zen master with a badge.”
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“Do you have even the slightest idea of a reason why sixty, seventy human feet would wash up on a beach in the middle of a Florida resort island?”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

imbroglio,
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“Cuba.” He let that sink in and went on. “They have more than one coastal prison, and some, like the Combinado del Este, are among the most brutal in the world, where political prisoners are jailed, tortured — and executed.”
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didn’t know whether I wanted to be a cantor, or a Talmudic scholar, or a wandering minstrel or what. The idea of being a Visigoth was also appealing — I would have been good at sacking Rome — but the timing was off.
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Perelman realized that she was not only very young — hardly twenty-three or twenty-four — but remarkably attractive. Perelman was a cinephile, and this woman’s thin, curved eyebrows and bobbed mahogany hair reminded him of Claudette Colbert. No — even stronger in the chief’s imagination was a resemblance to the legendarily beautiful Olive Thomas,
===
“Don’t make any changes on my account. I understand that sleeping in hovels builds character.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

One of the skills he’d picked up while pounding the beat in Miami had been to quickly ID restaurants and bars — which ones were for tourists, which ones were for locals, which for cops, which for wiseguys, and so on.
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a man standing on the dock, tall and pale, the wind whipping his white suit. With a Panama hat on his head, he looked like an albino drug lord waiting for his shipment to come in.
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Mariel Boatlift, where over a hundred thousand Cubans, released from prisons and mental hospitals, crowded on boats and headed northward, flooding the United States. It was so called because they hailed from Mariel Harbor.”
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At the mouth of Mariel Harbor, on the gulf side of the bay, is the infamous prison known as El Duende. El Duende is a grim institution, long infamous for the incarceration and torture of political prisoners. Many of the inmates from El Duende joined the boatlift, which almost emptied the prison.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

We have a Sentinel-class fast-response cutter of the right specifications hailing from the Port Charlotte Station. It has a sophisticated S / SCIF, SEI sensors, increased data-exchange bandwidth, AIS data sharing, and other enhanced capabilities. The flight deck accommodates a DoD HH-60 helicopter, and it is fully integrated with the National Distress and Response System Modernization Program …”
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An odd duck, for sure — but a damned clever one.
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“Ocean currents appear to flow in big, logical movements. The tide comes in and goes out. The Loop Current goes this way and that in a predictable fashion. It’s all there in the charts. The problem is that, when you actually drop small GPS floaters into the ocean, you find you can’t really predict where each individual floater will go. You can start them all together and they spread out enormously. Or you drop them far apart and they all end up on the same beach.

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

We start by turning the surface of the sea into millions of vectors and perform a fractal matrix analysis showing how each vector evolves over time — given various initial conditions of air and water temperature, wind, tides, waves, currents, solar gain, and other factors. It essentially draws a multidimensional Poincaré map of the ocean’s surface.
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We love garbage that comes in from the sea. Every piece tells the tale of its travels.”
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“Sounds like a reasonable assumption to me.” “The problem is that it is an assumption. Having made the assumption, they’re now trying to massage the data to prove it.”
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China’s footwear revenue is nearly seventy billion dollars a year. Why, Dongguan alone has fifteen hundred factories — many of them no bigger than a restaurant.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

She was young, extraordinarily beautiful, and wore a dress that, although prim and conservative, could not hide the contours of her body. He stood up, his instincts as a lawyer immediately reasserting themselves. Down, boy.
===
“Your secretary mentioned to me that no matter how many times they repainted the walls, blood kept oozing out. And that the few people who stayed overnight reported tapping noises and once or twice the clanking of chains, echoing faintly in the small hours.”
===
There’s Jinjiang, in Fujian Province. It’s known as the ‘shoe capital of China’ and has facilities that are technologically advanced. Then there’s Wenzhou. They have the greatest number of manufacturers but are geared toward the domestic trade. Also Dongguan, in Guangdong Province. Their factories tend to be smaller, more specialized, niche producers.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

“It’s a fast Komar-class missile boat,” said the XO, peering into the scope. “How fast?” “Top speed rated at forty-four knots, but this one’s moving at thirty.” “Armaments?” “Two twenty-five-millimeter guns, two Styx anti-ship missiles.”
===
On March eighth, 2014, Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur, headed for Beijing. Over the Gulf of Thailand it made a sudden turn and headed southwest, eventually flying far out over the Indian Ocean. About seven and a half hours after it took off, a satellite signal, the last contact with the plane, indicated it was somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean — and then whammo ! It disappeared.”
===
“Investigators calculated how far it could have flown, given the fuel it carried and the speed and altitude, and estimated it ran out of fuel and went down somewhere along this arc.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

“They made a model of the flaperon, put it into a tank, and ran tests on it. They took into account the sail effect — how much wind might affect the floating object. They calculated wave action. They allowed for surface currents, tidal currents, and deeper ocean currents. And finally, they took into account the flaperon’s permeability — how much it became waterlogged and degraded over the months it spent floating at sea. All that went into the model. As more debris washed up on various islands and the African mainland, they added that to the model, as well.”
===
Feynman sum-over-histories diagrams
===
It’s a mathematical and geometric way of diagramming the probability of particle interactions. Like in a particle collider? I just adapted the process to the ocean, treating it mathematically like a sea of interacting particles and forces. The math is terrifying and you need a supercomputer.

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

To unpathed waters, undreamed shores, ’” Perelman murmured.
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“As I said, it’s impossible.” “It can’t be impossible,” Gladstone said, feeling like tearing her hair out. “Don’t yell at me !” “I’m not yelling. I’m emphasizing.” “Well, don’t emphasize at me ! You know how sensitive I am.”
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Burnt coffee — but burnt hardly did it justice: coffee that had been boiled and boiled far past any trace of appeal or dignity.
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“And how did you end up in this picturesque locale?” Pendergast waved a hand at the engineless RVs, the piles of outboard motors, the sand and swamp grass.
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“If you are accusing me of dissembling, I take exception.” “Well, maybe I ‘take exception’ to your interrupting my vacation. Oh, and blocking my sun, too.”
===
“You have a suspicious and cynical nature. Ordinarily, I’d consider that an asset. But at the moment, I wonder if you’re simply using it as a smoke screen for malingering.”

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dustbunny53 Jul 07, 2020

Agent Pendergast is one of my all time favorite characters. I can't wait for the next book.

SPL_jennifer May 04, 2020

Crooked River by Douglas Preston and Lee Child
The latest in the FBI Agent Pendergast series this book delivers an adventure right off the start. When over a 100 dismembered feet drift onto a Florida beach, the FBI call in eccentric but effective Agent Pendergast and his junior partner Agent Coldmoon to investigate. Pendergast’s ward Constance Green comes along and finds a mystery of her own to solve in the Victorian mansion where they are staying during the case. She undertakes to solve the mystery of the mansions ghost, and solve what happened to the previous murdered owner whose body was never found. Both mysteries lead to unexpected results and this book is an exciting read.
But reader beware - there are some gruesome parts more appropriate to a horror story. Preston and Childs cross the line between adventure and horror with a touch of unrequited love and a few characters that could really benefit from sitting down with a good therapist.
In short, these characters are seriously messed up, and this includes the heroes and the villains. With a surprise ending and lots of twists and plot turns this book will keep the reader riveted. Readers who enjoy a good mystery or adventure will like this book. It’s not their best in the series, but it is still a good read. If you want to know more about the Pendergast series start with “The Relic” which contains no less than an extinct ecosystem, a museum monster, and some dodgy evil science.

j
jimg2000
Mar 31, 2020

Like most of other Preston/Douglas stories, an intelligent thriller with factual science and real locations behind much of the complex plot. It is a sequel to the author's 2018 "Verses of the Dead," ahead of the next novel about another most peculiar incident that took place north of Savannah. As pointed out by another library user, the 2nd half of the novel is Bond like with super agent Pendergast, agent Armstrong Coldmoon, ageless Constance Greene, and a local Latin scholar police chief banded together against a throwback mad villain. A real page turner and no worry, the curtains will be pulled back to reveal the mysteries... One of the very best in the Pendergast's series.

b
bettylamby
Mar 22, 2020

I have read every single book from both authors, especially their Agent Pendergast series. This book again did not disappoint, and ended appropriately - highly likely ending to a good read, which also segues into Pendergast’s new adventure.

PimaLib_ChristineR Mar 15, 2020

Crooked River is another cool Pendergast installment and I will continue to argue that they should drop the Gideon Crew books and focus here. In Crooked River Pendergast is called in to a small beach community where over 100 severed feet in matching green shoes have floated onto the shore. Classic Pendergast setup. One thing I really liked about this entry was that Pendergast was not his usual bottomless well of esoteric knowledge. He actually brings in people who specialize in different fields to give him information. And I love that since P&C have stepped away from possible magical influence, they seem to have a lot of research to back up their crazy scenarios. Try to imagine all the ways that a bunch of severed feet with matching shoes could wind up on a beach and you'll probably have a hard time. Not only did they do it, but it's actually a viable reason. I was all in and creeped out.

I want you to know I liked it, but these Preston & Child books, for me, are usually page-turners that cannot be put down. I start them with good intentions of going to sleep soon, but find myself on the last page around 3 AM and Crooked River didn't have that tension for me. Everything related to Constance was discordant. From the house they rent to her final overblown actions, I couldn't get a good hook into her story. Coldmoon and ANOTHER Smithback also felt a bit tacked on here. I guess we needed at least some of the information they provided, but looking back it feels like filler.

I think bringing the local police chief, Perelman, more into the mix would have been a better move since he was such an interesting character that was left only partly developed. Obviously as a four-star read, the problems which take up so much space here were relatively minor in the scope of the novel. If you're a fan of the series I don't think you'll be disappointed, but if you are new to the series, I might start somewhere else.

c
cms1956
Mar 08, 2020

I really enjoyed this book! I am a huge fan of the Pendergast series. I would highly recommend this book to those familiar with the works of Preston & Child.

n
Nissan19
Mar 02, 2020

Political slant with criticism of United States Coast Guard and Army.... extreme sympathies for illegal immigrants - all this took away from the story... did not enjoy plot and characters

g
goth_girl
Feb 21, 2020

I think I have read almost all of the Preston and Child books. I really enjoyed this book. Am looking forward to the next one!

b
bthek
Feb 20, 2020

A entertaining read, in the improbable style of a Bond book. Strange case of a broken leg and it’s miraculous healing at the end made me wonder about the editors - was there one?

k
kaymar
Feb 18, 2020

Easy read first 230 pages just background, takes off a bit but highly unlikely ending ruins the book.

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