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Review: Gideon’s Corpse

By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Gideon Crew #2. Grade: C

I still can’t believe it took two, not one, very talented writers to pen down this particular piece of disaster.

A top nuclear scientist goes mad and takes an innocent family hostage at gunpoint, killing one and causing a massive standoff.
A plume of radiation above New York City leads to a warehouse where, it seems, a powerful nuclear bomb was assembled just hours before.
Sifting through the evidence, authorities determine that the unthinkable is about to happen: in ten days, a major American city will be vaporized by a terrorist attack.

Ten days. And Gideon Crew, tracking the mysterious terrorist cell from the suburbs of New York to the mountains of New Mexico, learns the end may be something worse–far worse–than mere Armageddon.

Gideon Crew is a brilliant nuclear scientist who suffers from a rare form of brain aneurysm and has been diagnosed with less than a year to live. All he wants to do is go back home for some R&R, but his boss has a tricky hostage situation that only Gideon can solve. The person who has taken an innocent family of four hostage in their own homes is an old co-worker of Gideon, and Gideon is sent to calm him down. As often the case is in novels, things are not what they seem. The scientist is killed in the showdown and is found to be radioactive. Everyone involved is quarantined and cleaned.

A recent conversion to Islam raises some red flags, and a conspiracy is pieced together: nuclear attack on Washington in the next ten days. Gideon is asked to pair up with a by-the-book FBI agent Fordyce, and asked to uncover the truth. There is also a romantic subplot. (Why? Why? Why do thriller writers shoehorn in ridiculous, utterly unbelievable romances into their novels? It’s painful.)

To sum up, I found the entire book absolutely overdone, contrived, and ridiculous.

First of all, if these are the kind of officers that are in charge in case of a nuke attack, I’d be seriously worried for myself. Gideon chases down an absolutely flaky lead (which of course turns out to be the antagonist later) mainly because the daughter is cute. Yep, that’s what your priority should be when you know the world is about to end in nine days.

There were a lot of unnecessary scenes, and in an effort to make Gideon look interesting, he has been given the following traits: brilliant nuclear scientist, an untraceable art thief, a tragic past, witnessing the death of his own father, and exactly one year to live. Yawn. The scenes were out of a computer game, or a bad Hollywood movie.

Fight the cult with chainsaws? Check.
Near Plane crash which they mysteriously survive? Check.
A heart-racing mine-cart ride, hurtling into oblivion? Check.
Lots of explosions, fire rings, and a movie set? Check.

Bad. Really bad. It was painful to finish. Please don’t waste your money on this. Go check out the duo’s Pendergast Series instead.


This post was written by

Shriya – who has written posts on Vault of Books.
I am an eighteen year old who likes to bite off more than what she can chew, and on most days that includes this website.

My love for reading began when I accidentally came across Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in the school library. It was the first time I’d read of the bespectacled wizard and I hardly understood the story, but had enough sense to know true love when it looked me in the eye. This is why J.K. Rowling will “always” be my favourite writer. Judith McNaught joined the rank in my late teens, and I also hold immense respect for Arundhati Roy.

I have been blogging (off and on) since I was in class eight and web-designing from about the same time. In addition to blogging, my free time is spent running my book reviewing website, writing and hanging out with friends.

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  • Avni

    Oh god. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anybody reducing a book to shreds with such class before.

    I’ll take your warning and stay away from this book (though the cover seems interesting).
    Awesome review!

  • Piyush

    Well cant say RIP to a corpse I guess!

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