A spate of exsanguinated corpses spawns whispers of vampires amongst Savannah residents, sending FBI agents Pendergast and Coldmoon on a hunt for the truth behind the killings—be it man or monster.
Aloysius Pendergast, cool, brilliant, uncanny, and occasionally insufferable, along with his de facto partner, Armstrong Coldmoon, are railroaded into clearing up these so-called vampire killings post-haste before they give a Georgia senator any more bad press. Accompanying the agents is Pendergast’s enigmatic ward, the equally brilliant Constance. Pendergast and Coldmoon examine blood-drained bodies and investigate the famous 1971 D.B. Cooper airline hijacking, while Constance stalks the reclusive elderly lady living on the top floor of their hotel—and yes, these disparate puzzles are all connected. A television crew filming a special on paranormal activity and a jealous true-crime writer muddy the waters, but our heroes unflaggingly pursue—and discover—the shocking truth. The result is devastating for both Savannah, and Pendergast.
Agent Pendergast has been around for a while, first appearing as a supporting character in Relic (1995) before becoming a star in his own right in Cabinet of Curiosities (2002). I am a Pendergast fan, especially of the early novels, notably Still Life with Crows, and Brimstone which are dark, intelligent, and thought-provoking. Bloodless falls solidly in the breakneck thriller category. There is minimal character evolution. The writing feels hasty. Bloodless lacks the gravitas and intensity of the early novels. It is the literary equivalent of empty calories. That said, a patently unhealthy donut now and then is a guilty pleasure, and Bloodless is a fun read. Spooky, historic Savannah provides an atmospheric setting, and the oddly improbable mystery is enjoyable.
A warning to purists: The novel takes a bizarre, abrupt jog into full-on sci-fi/horror territory. This is a major departure from other Pendergast novels. Really major. This radical genre change might be off-putting for some readers. Since I was ready to accept bloodless corpses from the get-go, I found the deviation enjoyable, even though implausible and flat-out bizarre. An entertaining addition to your Halloween reads.