Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
This is my second Preston/Child Pendergast book. I jumped in at Number 5 - "Still Life with Crows", and I was left scratching my head after that one. My final thought was "Huh?" i'm still thinking "Huh", but I would define that word as 'too many holes in the plot, too inexplicable, too implausible' But I loved the description of the town, and Dick Hill's audio performance was haunting. I am sure I will listen to Part I of "Still Life" again soon, when the leaves turn and are thrashed from their branches by the Santa Anas.
When I finished this "Relic", I thought "What if . . . " Not really likely (or probable), but "What if?" I'm still thinking that. The sense of place was intriguing, although sometimes a little hard to map in my mind. I remember the computer technology from the era discussed, and it's accurate. Yes, Virginia, computers used to have black screens and green letters - no other colors, no graphics.
That brings us to the audio, which is the worst that I've heard on Audible. The problem wasn't the difference between David Colacci (Relic) and Dick Hill (Still Life). It took me about ten minutes to make the transition, but I got used to it.
There were two major problems I never got over: the 'special effects' and Gilligan's Island.
Audio special effects are like text special effects - just because you can throw in 26 point Comic Sans into a paragraph of Times Roman 12 point text doesn't mean you should. It's jarring, messy, breaks the flow, and your reader will just ignore that comically blaring point you are trying to make.
With audio books, ust because you can throw in echoes and the sound of someone transmitting on a walkie talkie doesn't mean you should. That happened in this performance, and I wished I could have skipped over all of that. I would have missed part of the story, but it was that annoying. I would have rather missed part of the story than hear it.
I was willing to attribute the intrusive 'special effects' to bad editing and production - until Thurston Howell III showed up. One of the characters had THIII's voice, and I am not kidding. Every time Colacci performed that character, I looked for the Minnow, shipwreked on a beautiful beach.
I will listen to another Pendergast book, just to fix my bearings on this . . .
The story is very flat and there is no suspense at all in the whole book. The narration is also not very good. The narrator creates unique voices, but the recording quality is not that good either. Especially, the sound effects for direct speech are very bad (e.g. echo in the cellar, walkie-talkie voices). It hurts in the ears when listening on an iPod. All in all, not a good book. The newer Pendergast stories are much better, especially considering that Pendergast is not the protagonist in this book and some book catalogs do list this book not as a Pendergast book.
If I could give Relic a 4.5, I would - it is a near perfect example of the kinds of action techno-thrillers spiced with science fiction that were being written and published in the 1990s. Like Michael Crichton before them, Preston and Child are sometimes overly obsessed with explaining basic computer functions or advanced technology, but for the most part have crafted and exciting an interesting story that moves along at a brisk pace. A few silly character names aside, it's also one of the more original stories in the genre and the production of this audio is top notch. There are well done sound effects and high production value all across the story, and for the most part Colacci provides an excellent voices for the characters. My one complaint here is that many of the secondary characters all sound exactly the same and sort of goonish. Pendergast also slips from a deep southern accent into an unintelligible hick at times. All in all this is an enjoyable listen.
Can't think of anyone who would be able to take this series of books seriously. It is a stretch even for those more forgiving souls who enjoy complete escapism.
Don't know. Total rewrite? The characters are sadly cliche and not developed well.
The narrator did what he could with what he had to work with. Pretty good reader.
Not sure exactly - probably would have reworked the last half thoroughly.
The story is interesting at the onset, gets pretty far fetched by the end of the first book, then dissolves into complete idiocy right from the onset of the second one. Every aspect of this series is written with no concern for realism or the laws of nature. Unfortunately, I purchased 1 & 2 together. To be honest, the only reason I started the second book book was my curiosity about just how bad it could get. I put it down in disgust after the second chapter.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (thriller) - This is my first book by these authors and I like their mixture of science and horror, but I would have liked more mystery and less action in this book. The story starts with a very intriguing premise but then turns into mostly just descriptions of strange noises and deaths in a museum with lots of action scenes. In the second half there is a special museum event which is attended by the general public and all hell breaks loose. FBI agent Pendergast, a few scientists and many museum guests become trapped in the museum with the killer. This is my favorite part of the book, as they try to figure out what they're up against and come up with a way to outsmart their foe. The book ends well, and what happens in the epilogue came as a total surprise and sets the scene for future books.
PERFORMANCE - Great effort at differentiating between characters and different situations. When characters were on a microphone or in a tunnel, they sounded like it. I am always surprised when performances like this are criticized. Was it perfect, no. Were a few accents way overdone, definitely. But this is Audible, not Hollywood, and I'd rather have a performance like this than a monotonous reading where every character sounds exactly the same. Good job.
OVERALL (actual rating 3.5) - Recommended for anyone who enjoys fictional creatures, science, action and is okay with a sprinkling of gore. There is no sex, but the F-word occurs quite a bit during the more serious action scenes in the second half. Even though it is the first book of a series, the story stands alone.
I found the characters to be just that, not living people, with the exception of the female protagonist who is more distinctly developed.
i will definitely not be buying anything by these authors again.
Pendergast, as portrayed by David Colacci, was the most interesting but he emerged late into the book and was not really involved in any dialog which might have given us a better understanding of Pendergast the person.
No cuts to the scenes would infuse the amount of blood into this story to make it live. It was like watching an old TV movie while half asleep on the couch. It never woke me up.
These authors must have done an enormous amount of technical background research to prepare for writing this book. I am sorry that I could not enjoy it.
The story is a good solid science (biology) fiction lark, with just enough detail to seem plausible-ish, and enough suspense and sympathetic characters to fill in the gap. One drawback ... Since this is set in New York, I suppose the narrator really couldn't avoid using various New York accents to portray, and enliven, certain characters. But he didn't have to make them the most over-the-top caricatured accents for the "hard boiled" New York detectives. A minor complaint. This book is a good start to a solidly enjoyable series.
It kept me on my toes and guessing, I was never sure what was coming, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I'm not sure what to compare it to, I've never listened to or read another book like this one
I don't know if I had a favorite part, I enjoyed the whole book other than the end here the mad scientist was growing more of the weeds and selling it as drugs, that part was a bit disturbing
No, it was not that kind of book for me
Preston and child are my favorite duo, they never disappoint
After reading Cabinet of Curiosities and loving the writing style of Preston and Child I had to start from the beginning and was not disappointed. I loved the first Pendergast book and cannot wait to continue with the rest of the series. Being a huge James Patterson fan, it has been refreshing to really enjoy a completely different writing style that has kept my attention. Looking forward to the rest!
I enjoy Smithback's character because he is completely obnoxious, but you grow to love him because beneath it, he is is a decent guy, but the subtle comedic relief of the book.
I loved how he portrayed each character's voice and took great detail to account for the sounds that the voices would make in various rooms (such as a deep basement, or over a walkie talkie)....the attention to detail makes the narration one of the best I've heard.
I really enjoy reading the bits of history and facts that are sprinkled in the plot of the story.
Say something about yourself!
I enjoyed it but wouldn't say that it's the best book that I've read.
The narration was reasonable and the story a bit predicable.