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2 excellent mysteries: 'White Fire' and 'Mirage'

6/17/2014 JEFF AYERS , Associated Press

"White Fire" (Grand Central Publishing), by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

A prologue that takes place in London in 1889 sets the stage for "White Fire," Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's best novel to date. Readers familiar with their previous collaborations know their primary protagonist, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, has drawn comparisons to Sherlock Holmes.

"White Fire" opens with Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle at dinner. Wilde tells a gruesome tale involving a bear attack on a mining town in Colorado.

In present day, Pendergast's protege heads to a swanky Colorado ski resort where she asks to examine the bones of the victims of the bear attacks. She learns a bear didn't kill them and her investigation lands her in jail. Pendergast's arrival to rescue his protege coincides with an arsonist's attacks on the town's expensive mansions.

Small-town politics, murder, a century-old conspiracy, arson and a detective who embodies a modern-day Holmes add up to an amazing journey.

"Mirage" (Putnam), by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul

Juan Cabrillo takes center stage in "Mirage," the latest adventure in the Oregon Files series from Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul.

A prisoner transfer in Siberia doesn't go well for the man who's been captured. But the man guards know as Ivan Karnov is Cabrillo in disguise. His mission involves getting someone out of the prison. It's personal, since the captive is a friend.

A daring escape and a terrible conspiracy will plunge Cabrillo and his team into the history of an experiment that occurred over 70 years ago that possibly transported a large sea vessel several thousand miles over land.

What makes "Mirage" stand above previous novels in the series is the focus on Cabrillo — and why he's the perfect leader for such a diverse crew, even when logic and science don't seem to apply.



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