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Diablo Mesa


Diablo Mesa

It still seems like yesterday that I was browsing through a Barnes & Noble in New York City and came across a book called RELIC. I picked it up because it sounded like my type of thriller. Well, four decades later, I still am amazed by the work of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Whether collectively or individually, they have never taken their foot off the gas pedal as their novels continue to entertain, thrill and embrace innovative ideas from the world of science, archaeology and beyond.

The boys are best known for their Agent Pendergast series, but out of that has sprung three books featuring archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, the latest of which is DIABLO MESA. Its premise revolves around the Roswell incident of 1947 and the alleged UFO that crashed in the Santa Fe desert.

"The last third of the novel is not to be missed and is impossible to put down.... DIABLO MESA is just what thriller junkies require, and this always reliable author duo delivers at every turn."

Nora Kelly does not see eye to eye with her boss, Dr. Marcelle Weingrau, president of the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute. When he asks her to take on a case working for eccentric billionaire Lucas Tappan, the founder of Icarus Space Systems, she is quick to turn it down and leaves for good. Nora just does not take the offer seriously, dislikes a member of Weingrau’s team to whom she would have to report, and believes in all the UFO debunkers.

Almost immediately after she cleans out her desk and walks out of the institute, Nora is approached by a man who claims to be Lucas Tappan. When she informs him that she just quit, he says that now they can work together unencumbered. She thinks it over and gives into the pressure, especially when he agrees to also hire her brother, Skip, and let them bring along their dog.

Lucas wants the site of the Roswell crash to be fully excavated. He shows her around the area and the souped-up, two-bedroom RV that she and Skip would share. The excavation site is called Diablo Mesa, but no one knows why. Not long into Nora’s digging, she turns up a large domed head covered in lizard-like skin with two large eye sockets. It’s hard to get thoughts of an alien out of her mind. She later digs up a St. Christopher medal, followed by a skull with a hole in it, indicating the remains of a murder victim.

Corrie and her partner, Morwood, are called in and begin working with Nora and Lucas to identify the deceased and a possible motive for the crime. More corpses, along with a bizarre device that has a label from New Jersey on it, are dug up and taken away by the FBI for further investigation. Initial results show that the lizard-like skin is the direct outcome of acid used to torture victims prior to their death.

One evening, Morwood is paid a visit by a mysterious man named Lime who claims to be collaborating with the U.S. government. Lime, of course, is not who he claims to be, and it won’t be long before Nora and Corrie are introduced to the people for whom Lime is actually working. Let’s just say they make the Men in Black look like preschoolers!

The last third of the novel is not to be missed and is impossible to put down. Everything from Cold War espionage to Soviet agents at Roswell and, of course, our top-secret group that is behind all of this will cause enough suspense and unpredictable thrills that you will not be able to see the next move coming before Preston & Child cast a literary checkmate. DIABLO MESA is just what thriller junkies require, and this always reliable author duo delivers at every turn.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 18, 2022

Diablo Mesa
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

  • Publication Date: February 15, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538736756
  • ISBN-13: 9781538736753