Gideon’s Corpse, the second in the Gideon Crew series is from the fabulous writing team of Preston/Child, home to the Pendergast books, as well as thrillers written by themselves individually. Gideon Crew was a good, but somewhat small-time art thief, who stole because he liked the thrill, he hated to see paintings wasted, tucked away from the public eye, and because he liked a piece. He left that life, and went on to become a physicist at Los Alamos, from where he was recruited by a somewhat elusive group known as EES – Effective Engineering Solutions – they go around to disasters and figure out what went wrong. They also take on selected jobs for clients, including the government, to help stop problems from arising, such as terrorists.
The book starts out just like the first book closed – with a fellow Los Alamos scientist holding a family hostage and raving about conspiracies. They think Gideon is the right man for the job of talking him down as he knows him and is there, in DC. So Gideon tries and is somewhat successful. After that, they ask him to take on another small matter of a terrorist plot they stumbled on from clues on the mad scientist hostage taker. Gideon, as usual, is on his own, although this time he is partnered up with an FBI liaison. NEST, the nuclear response team, is taking lead, but they are creating a logistical tangle, and some think that Crew could do what others can’t, since he thinks outside the box. The book follows his attempts to unravel the clues, follow up on leads, and fighting for his life. An exciting chase through New Mexico, with a clock ticking over his head – not just from the deadline for the plot, but from a medical diagnosis he’s been told he has that is terminal. All in all, a fun thriller with twists and turns and backstabbing galore. The only problem I have with this series, is that at times it is hard to root for Gideon – first of all – he is date-stamped with an expiration. Second, he is brash, rude at times, and doesn’t take other people’s feelings into account. He does what he thinks is the thing that will accomplish his goal, regardless of the consequences.