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Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: January 12, 2021

480 Pages

Synopsis: Following the acclaimed debut of Old Bones, this second “happily anticipated” new thriller in Preston & Child’s new series, features Nora Kelly, archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, and rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson as they work together to solve a twisted crime that reaches far beyond any of their worst fears. (Booklist).

 A mummified corpse, over half a century old, is found in the cellar of an abandoned building in a remote New Mexico ghost town. Corrie is assigned what seems to her a throwaway case: to ID the body and determine cause of death. She brings archaeologist Nora Kelly to excavate the body and lend her expertise to the investigation, and together they uncover something unexpected and shocking: the deceased apparently died in agony, in a fetal position, skin coming off in sheets, with a rictus of horror frozen on his face.

Hidden on the corpse lies a 16th century Spanish gold cross of immense value.

When they at last identify the body—and the bizarre cause of death—Corrie and Nora open the door into a terrifying, secret world of ancient treasure and modern obsession: a world centered on arguably the most defining, frightening, and transformative moment in American history.

Scorpion’s Tail is the second book in Preston & Child’s Nora Kelly spin-off series and while I didn’t like it quite as much as last year’s Old Bones, I’m still looking forward to future books featuring Nora and Corrie.

As always, the research Preston and Child put into this story is meticulous, but there seemed to be something missing here that I’m not sure I can put my finger on. I liked the historical mystery behind this, but perhaps due to the length of the book, I found my attention wandering more than once. Also, while both women have been recurring characters in the Pendergast series, Nora Kelly is much more relatable. Corrie Swanson is in her early twenties, yet strikes me as an old soul. I like her, and find her intriguing, yet I’m frustrated by her at the same time because she has a remote personality that makes it difficult to connect with. I’m hoping to see her character develop as she and Nora work more cases together. And finally, (here’s my one spoiler), while I enjoyed Pendergast’s cameo at the end of the previous book, this time I found it unwarranted and a bit annoying.

While The Scorpion’s Tail is not my favorite story from Preston and Child, it’s still a worthwhile read. And to be honest, I’ve been reading their books since the 90s, and have extremely high expectations for each new entry. If any of you are fans I’d love to know your thoughts about this once you’ve read it.