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Diablo Mesa
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Nora Kelly (Female), Museum curator, Archaeologist, Successful, Feisty, Strong-willed, Widow, Archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archeological Institute; investigates two bodies found at the Roswell Incident site
Corrie Swanson (Female), FBI agent, Hot-tempered, Rookie, Special agent assigned to investigate two bodies found at the Roswell Incident site
Archaeological digs
Suspicious deaths
FBI agents
Murder investigations
New Mexico - Southwest (U.S.) / West (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews
Library Journal Review
The indefatigable Preston/Child team brings back archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson in a timely tale featuring the slightly off-the-wall billionaire founder of Icarus Space Systems, who hopes to bring his project publicity (that is, glory) by persuading the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to excavate the 1947 Roswell Incident site. As Nora's turn of spade uncovers two murder victims, she needs to call on Corrie for help. With a 250,000-copy first printing.
Publishers Weekly Review
Bestsellers Preston and Child go full X-Files in their excellent third thriller featuring archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI agent Corrie Swanson (after 2021's The Scorpion's Tail). When Nora's boss at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute asks her to direct excavations at Roswell, N.Mex., the site of a supposed UFO crash in 1947, she quits, refusing to be part of a project that would make the institute a laughingstock and harm her career. The billionaire funding the project later persuades Nora to work for him directly, though she insists on first checking the accuracy of a recent aerial survey that detected evidence of human remains at the site. The subsequent discovery of two decades-old corpses, with bullet wounds in their skulls and burned-off features, involves Corrie, a skilled forensic anthropologist with a talent for facial reconstruction, and proves the precursor to more puzzles, including a baffling 1999 locked-room murder of a nuclear scientist and possible proof that what crashed at Roswell was not from Earth. The taut suspense and tight plotting that marked the authors' earliest Pendergast novels are very much in evidence. Fans of kick-ass female leads will be delighted. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Feb.)
Booklist Review
Archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI agent Corrie Swanson team up for their third thriller (after Old Bones, 2019, and The Scorpion's Tale, 2021). A flamboyant billionaire asks the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to dig into the alleged--and repeatedly debunked--UFO crash-landing at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Much to her professional and personal consternation, Nora is assigned the job. Well, she doesn't find the bodies of aliens, but she does unearth two very human murder victims, their identifying features apparently erased deliberately. Can she and Agent Swanson discover the truth about these presumed murder victims before someone puts a permanent end to their investigation? This new novel from the authors of the Pendergast series is thoroughly entertaining. Preston and Child write energetically, propelling us through the story while celebrating its occasional implausibilities: don't take this all too seriously, they seem to be saying; it's just a bit of fun.
Kirkus Review
Two desiccated corpses aren't the strangest discoveries made by archaeologists in this third entry of Preston and Child's unusual crime series. Nora Kelly is summoned to her boss's office at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute and assigned to investigate the site where an unidentified aircraft, perhaps a UFO, supposedly crashed in 1947. She believes that claims of an alien space landing near Roswell are "wacko." But billionaire Lucas Tappan has provided a generous grant to the institute, and he specifically wants Nora to lead the expedition because of her reputation. She declines and is fired. So Tappan comes to her directly. But "I can't put digging up UFOs on my resume," she tells Skip, her less-skeptical brother. "It's too weird." Tappan wears her down and hires them both. Reluctantly she takes a team to the area, where they uncover a pair of corpses buried in New Mexico's high desert. They notify the police, and FBI agent Corrie Swanson takes on the case because they're on federal land. But the depression in the sand suggests that the vehicle--a flying saucer, maybe?--had struck the ground at a low angle and skipped repeatedly, like a flat rock across a pond. When they come to a possible final resting place, the archaeologists start digging. Just as they are about to make a shocking discovery, armed men stop them. Whatever is under a couple of meters of earth is a secret the government has closely guarded since the '40s, and these dudes demonstrate that they will kill intruders on the spot. Kelly and Swanson aren't friends, but they've worked well together ever since they debuted in Old Bones (2019), and they are smart, strong, and appealing protagonists. The story has tension, mystery, murder, and enough romance to give Kelly "a powerful glow, a whole-body tingle." Down-to-earth action tackles an otherworldly mystery in this devilishly plausible yarn. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

From New York Times bestsellers Preston and Child, archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson are tasked with the mysterious deaths of two people found at a site where a UFO allegedly crashed decades before.

Lucas Tappan, a wealthy and eccentric billionaire and founder of Icarus Space Systems, approaches the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute with an outlandish proposal--to finance a careful, scientific excavation of the Roswell Incident site, where a UFO is alleged to have crashed in 1947. A skeptical Nora Kelly, to her great annoyance, is tasked with the job.

Nora's excavation immediately uncovers two murder victims buried at the site, faces and hands obliterated with acid to erase their identities. Special Agent Corrie Swanson is assigned to the case. As Nora's excavation proceeds, uncovering things both bizarre and seemingly inexplicable, Corrie's homicide investigation throws open a Pandora's box of espionage and violence, uncovering bloody traces of a powerful force that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets--and that threatens to engulf them all in an unimaginable fate.

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