I just finished reading Douglas Preston & Lincoln Childs "The Wheel of Darkness' It's the 8th book involving the intriguing, eccentric FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast. Even though he is a recurring character, all the novels are stand alone novels. You don't have to read them all to know what's going on, (but why wouldn't you? Seriously!)
Aloysius & his ward Constance have taken themselves away, to a Tibetan monastery to quiet their minds and refresh their spirits with deep meditation. One evening the monks call on Pendergast, they are in dire need of his FBI expertise. They are the guardians & keepers of an ancient object called "The Agozyen" which was sealed in a box & locked in a vault. The vault is checked once a year. Days before Pendergasts' visit the vault was checked and it was revealed that the box holding the "Agozyen" was missing.
They enlist Pendergast's help to retrieve the object: The obstacle? The monks were forbidden to open the box containing the "Agozyen" so they have no idea what it looks like. So Pendergast must follow the trail of something unseen. The trail will lead him to the maiden voyage of an oceanliner. The story becomes a hair-raising, bloody, nerve-wracking, cozy mystery with suspects at every turn. As the object reveals itself Pendergast faces his biggest foe...himself.
I am a huge fan of Preston & Child, they are amazing writers. You are entertained and educated with every novel.