This review relates more to the "Pendergast" series and the related books than any one particular story.
First and foremost they are fun, I've listened to everything Audible has to offer by the team of Preston and Child and moved on to the print version of "Cold Vengeance" when the suspense, of waiting for the audio to become available, got the better of me.
As the series has progresses you can see Preston and Child loosening up, indulging in deploying the "almost preternatural" (Their words) comic book powers of Pendergast against an array of weird and weirder nasty pieces of work.
"Comic book" is a term that comes naturally to mind whenever Pendergast is in frame, his word picture is drawn starkly in black and white; tall, black suited, pale of complexion and hair. He begs to be inked into a graphic novel in deep chiaroscuro. Bruce Wayne, but not quite Batman or maybe Lamont Cranston, who learned the power to cloud men's minds in the orient and "Knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men".
While the earlier novels that feed characters into the series hold onto, sometimes interesting, threads of scientific, archaeological and historical underpinning these trail away when Pendergast comes on the scene.
When one reviewer here bemoaned the standard of research displayed in "Relic" Douglas Preston laid the cards directly on the table, on behalf of the team, when he replied on their website:
"Not good science? Why, before writing RELIC, we did extensive scientific research on the worldwide problem of brain-eating monsters infesting museums. What more could you want?"
If you move in literary circles you'll have to keep these tucked away at the back of the bookshelf until it comes time to play the "Admitting to Guilty Pleasures" game. But that's your problem.
On the other hand there are other games that anyone can play. The easiest one is the "Spot the Stock Character" Here are some guidelines to get you started, Mad Scientist (1 point), Fat Detective (3 points), Incompetent Senior Officer (3 points), Goth (4 points), Obsequious Manservant With Hidden Talents (3 points), Obsequious Manservant With No Hidden Talents (6 points), Demented Relative (1 point), Zombie (4 points), Whore With a Heart Of Gold (Can't say I've noticed one of those, let's say 50 points).
A personal favourite of mine is the game my partner and I play (Yes, she's addicted too). We hunt for the words and pieces of scenery and episodes that turn up in most, if not all, Preston Child books. I think of it as a variation on "Where's Wally".
You might like to start with something easy like finding a "mansard roof" and associated "widows walk" next you could hunt for the "Stalking through the tunnels, caves or convoluted basement scene".
For the more advanced player there's populating the favourite word list. Some that come to mind to get you started are; Susurrus, Heft, Sotto voce, Keening and, just often enough to make the hunt worthwhile, Dottle (Specifically the knocking out there of).
Ok! so there is an element of boilerplate, but that just lets the authors get on with the business of knocking out a ripping yarn in the best tradition of the genre without getting tied down in the detail of creating a whole new world every time they pick up their quills.
I thought the book was just OK, not horrible at all. I wouldn't specifically recommend to anyone. I didn't care about any of the characters. They were each just one dimensional. I didn't care too much about how it ended either. I didn't realize this was a series. Not much in it I could see eagerly anticipating in follow up books. It read like a really good B movie to me. Something you'd watch on cable on a Friday night with friends and enjoy. The last few chapters also seemed to drag on a bit longer than they needed to. The audio was slightly over produced as well.
i had originally read this book in text many years ago; listening was much, much better. there were many moments when i sat in my driveway because I wanted to continue listening.
Davis Colacci does a fine job at narratiion; at first i thought he was trying too hard to get inflections and feeling across but a few minutes in & he won me over.
I will surely download the rest in this series.
This book is quite silly and not even believable.
This is a boring listen and quite silly. While the narrartor does a good job it just does not cut it...I did not even make it through to the end!
I bought this hoping for a good story I could listen to whilst at the gym and enjoyed it so much I found myself listening every chance I had.
It was odd to come across a book where I couldn't care less about any of the characters, yet I just had to keep listening. It's a clever story which saves a few good surprises for the end.
Nicely narrated although one or two of the characters' "voices" irritated slightly. Still, who cares? It is a ripping yarn and I enjoyed it immensely.
I'm in it for the thrill, and easy to please. I love this book. They build it up till you can't stand it anymore, and then change the channel. This book definately kept me awake on the early morning commute to work, and I was very happy to have a well lit parking lot to walk through on my way home.
I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.
Pretty well written for this genre fiction. But there's actually very little mystery. We know the nature of the Relic early on, and it takes a long time and many characters to head toward a climax. The result: there's just not a lot of suspense.
This book bored me. It might have gotten better later, but I was so bored at the one hour mark I moved on to my next credit.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the New York Museum of Natural History. The authors give a glimps into what the public dosen't see...the rest of the iceburg hidden below the depths of the waters. In a way this book made me think of the TV series Bones. A great adventure in many ways.
Pendergast! Confident, quiet and smart with an adorable southern drawl. Pendergast is fantastic and I can't wait until I can read the next in the series.
Any fan of audio books knows how important the narrarator is. They can either make or break a book. This is one of those narrarators that I would listen to even if the story was not something I was interested in. Fantastic! Lots of action, lots of interesting, well developed characters and never any confusion on who is who and what is what.
I don't scare easy. I find that most stories that are horror or supernatural are either dark and depressing or just gory. This book is the type of scary I like. The anticipation is wonderful. Monsters that going bump in the night!
People at the New York Museum are turning up savagely murdered as the count down to a new exibition themed "superstitions" covering world myths and superstitions draws near. Who or what is behind these awful murders? Well you need to read this book to find out.
I am surprised that I'm giving this selection 4 stars. The first few chapters give some seemingly unrelated stories that look into the past. It's hard to get through because you don't know why the information is important. Once you get into the actual story the ride has its ups and downs. So for the things i liked:
- Agent Pendergast - he's relate-able and provides a charming outsiders perspective on the situation
- Degoste - the NYC detective. His New York attitude is paired with a quirky wit.
- The structure of the story - It hits all of the necessary plot points just at the right time to keep you interested.
This is a very cerebral story, dealing with genetics and a number of other scientific areas of study including paleontology. At times the technical explanations, though necessary, become a bit cumbersome. The author also spends a lot of time building suspense and emphasizing the horrific feelings that the antagonist conjures with the mystery of its presence. I do like the use of smell as additional trigger. I've never smelled a "goattish musk", but I've smelled a raccoon. That has to be close right? lol. I think it is easy to call to mind mind some of the most horrible things you have smelled and attach it to the authors' description of this antagonist.
My favorite thing about this book was the aftermath wrap up. I had a theory throughout the book and was disappointed that it had not resulted as the answer when the culprit was revealed. Then comes the denouement. My theory was spot on and the author skillfully sets up the next book and makes me want to read it. That is amazing. This author knows how to give people what they want: a well-crafted intelligent mystery with an antagonist with a je ne sais quoi to keep the attention to the very end.
I did enjoy the narrator and actually missed him in the second audiobook. He does well to give each character a voice. My only issue was that his voice for women in the book wavered.