Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who–with brutal precision–begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear. Her finding is so astonishing that it, even more than the arsonist, threatens the resort’s very existence.
Drawn deeper into the investigation, Pendergast uncovers a mysterious connection between the dead miners and a fabled, long-lost Sherlock Holmes story–one that might just offer the key to the modern day killings as well.
Now, with the ski resort snowed in and under savage attack–and Corrie’s life suddenly in grave danger–Pendergast must solve the enigma of the past before the town of the present goes up in flames.
Summary from Goodreads
White Fire is the 13th novel in the Pendergast series by Preston and Child. It’s a little over a year since the events of Two Graves and the marks left by the events of the previous books on Pendergast are apparent in his mannerisms and actions.
However, Pendergast hasn’t lost any of his detecting ability or his penchant for upsetting those around him. In White Fire the readers also get to see Corrie Swanson again, this time in a more prominent role. It is her foray into a solo investigation that leads Pendergast to head to the luxury resort town of Roaring Fork. From the beginning of their relationship in Still Life With Crows, Pendergast seemed merely to be a benign benefactor toward Corrie, who was merely of interest to him for her potential to be a competent crime investigator. In White Fire, as in the other recent novels, you see that Pendergast simply keeps his emotions private, as the danger to Corrie in Roaring Fork reveals that Pendergast holds her in higher esteem than even she dreamed.
And the danger is very real, and terrifying. White Fire has some of the most terrifying criminal acts, and the villain looms over the town and the other characters almost like a specter. There are some graphic, violent scenes in this novel, though written in a way that I would say is not gratuitous, though they are intense simply because of the subject matter.
The reveal of the “why” in the mystery is also particularly fascinating, and, as usual, I love how Preston and Child always brings together seemingly disparate plot points and histories and makes fascinating, intense narratives out of them.
An interesting, enjoyable book, with a fast-paced mystery at it’s heart. If you haven’t read a Pendergast novel yet, I highly recommend the series to you, starting with the first novel, Relic.