Even thought "Relic" was published 'way back in 1994, it still delivers plenty of thrills and excitement after all these years. In my opinion, that test of timelessness indicates a good novel. The plot of "Relic" had the potential to flop, since it tells an improbable monster story. But Preston/Child's excellent writing and thorough research facilitate our willing suspension of disbelief, rendering even the most far-fetched plot concepts scientifically plausible. "Relic" grips you right from the beginning, and doesn't let go until the end. The extended sequence in the dark catacombs under New York's Natural History Museum provides unparalleled suspense. "Relic," unlike most thrillers, has no primary hero, but, rather, three or four protagonists. However, it commences a wonderful series of intelligent thrillers featuring the brilliant, erudite, albino F.B.I. agent Aloysius Pendergast, introduced in this novel. David Colacci gives us an excellent reading of this audiobook. I highly recommend "Relic" to any thriller aficionado.
Although "Void Moon" doesn't contain Harry Bosch -- the hero of most of Connelly's other novels -- it still rocks, showing that Connelly can write anything. In this case he creates a female protagonist, and succeeds in attributing credible behavior and choices to her. I have just finished listening to "Void Moon" for the second time, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time. It employs the risky tactic of revealing the heroine's backstory and motivations a little bit at a time; but Connelly writes so well that the tactic works -- keeping us wondering and paying attention. I recommend "Void Moon" to anyone who loves good, gritty mystery stories.
Preston and Child never miss a beat. In fact, with each outing they seem to improve, don't they? "Fever Dream" tells us another exciting story in the Agent Pendergast series. With each episode, Preston and Child always find some primal human phobia to tap into. Frequently, they take us underground, into dark tunnels; but this time they bring us into a Louisiana swamp, teeming with alligators, bugs, and snakes. Even more than the scare factor, Preston and Child triumph with intelligent, well-researched, scientifically plausible plots. Like Sherlock Holmes, Pendergast seems to know everything needed to solve the most arcane riddles; and, like James Bond, he can wield the weapons needed to punish the bad guys. In this case, he unearths the deadly secret that had gotten his beloved wife murdered twelve years before. Then he issues the bad guys their belated just deserts. Rene Auberjonois does a good job of reading "Fever Dream," giving each character a unique voice. I don't know exactly how to classify the Preston/Child thrillers -- they contain elements of horror, techno, sci-fi, adventure, and mystery -- but any fan of any of those genres will love "Fever Dream." (By the way -- explaining the title would give away the plot; so you will just have to listen to the audiobook in order to get it.)
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
I purchased The Mermaids Singing partially because of the reviews I read on Audible, but probably more because Val McDermid seemed to be the favorite mystery author of Mikael Blomqvist in The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl With .....). Now that I have read all of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books to date (a new one is due later this year), I felt it was time to write a review of the first book.
McDermid writes wonderful prose that makes her characters come alive -- all of them, not just the two major characters. I won't try to tell you about the plot, since many other reviews do that. But the development of the plot, along with the minutiae of each character's life and personality, make for excellent reading. McDermid creates a tight, incredibly tense story that keeps you reading, sometimes even when you don't want to.
If you are averse to graphic depictions of violence and perversion, you may want to skip this series. But if that's not a problem, I highly recommend these books. In Tony Hill, McDermid has created a flawed and damaged character who still manages to live in the world and work for the forces of good as a Profiler, expert at his work because of his scarred past. The relationship of Tony and Carol Jordan, police inspector, is so tentative and slow moving that you sometimes could scream, but you keep waiting for it to progress. The pair pursues serial killers in plots that will keep you on the edge of your seat with your jaw clenched.
It is important that you read the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books in the order in which they were published, since these are not stand alone novels. The characters and their relationships and pasts are developed over the course of the series, and reading out of order makes it more difficult to follow some developments.