2nd read: Oct 2012 - now rated 4-starsMy first read of this book wasn't terribly favorable. I was miffed at the authors for putting us back in the middle of another 3-book (trilogy) story arc. So much happens in a single Special Agent Pendergast book, much less carrying the story across 3 books! And I felt a bit let-down by the previous trilogy, featuring Pendergast's brother, Diogenes.But on this re-read (in prep for Two Graves in December, I found fresh perspective. Yes, the story is quite complicated, and yes, the book feels a bit long. But now that Pendergast is trying to find out who murdered his wife, Helen (or was she murdered at all?) makes it personal: and Pendergast is never personal. I feel more drawn to him, as he realizes how much he didn't know about his wife - the woman he is still madly in love with.D'Agosta, his NYPD friend, joins him in the chase for Helen's murderers. But D'Agosta suffers an almost fatal gunshot wound in the process. Which means that Capt. Laura Hayward, NYPD and D'Agosta's girlfriend, takes up where he left off - she partners with Pendergast. Hayward has no love for Special Agent Pendergast; she frankly feels that he's bad for D'Agosta, and she abhors his methods and the end results. Those Pendergast discovers as the perpetrators of the crimes don't live long enough to face justice or trial; Pendergast simply does away with them.But Hayward and Pendergast learn to appreciate the other's methods, and they find a working rhythm... one that leads to the ultimate bloody showdown of stamina, terror, and truth.