Why, yes, I am an author
I love the Pendergast novels, but for some reason I had trouble following this one. I think it's because I did not read the two that immediately preceded it. As a result, I found myself re-listening to chapters to make sure I had the information I needed.
The book starts off with the murder of Pendergast's wife, Helen ... who has, unbeknownst to the agent, given birth to his son. There is a subplot involving the daughter of an accused bank robber, and another involving Pendergast's aunt Cornelia and her claims to be more than 140 years old. The son, Tristram, is the source of another plot reminiscent of "The Boys from Brazil."
All in all, it was a little confusing. However, I enjoyed Rene Auberjonois' narration so much that I gave this audio book four stars regardless of the bizarre plot line(s).
I read equal parts NF + F: (Follet + Tolstoy + Hillenbrand + Monk Kidd + Preston+Child), practical, hands on guides, + KidLit.
I'm a big fan of Preston & Child and this latest book in the Agent Pendergast series does not disappoint. All my favorite characters appear in this one and the plot advances their story lines so you gain deeper understanding into their backgrounds and motives.
I didn't like how the last book ended on such a dire note for his former assistant, Corrie Swanson, who was trapped sneaking into the Nazi headquarters all alone and wondered why it took so long to get back to that scene in this book but it did steer back there so that was one of three threads for Two Graves. Pendergast's mysterious wife, Helen, and her background are finally revisited in this book so we learn her true past and her trilogy (Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance) is finally closed with this book.
In this novel, a fresh serial killer is on the loose in NYC and the murders seem to be directed at Agent Pendergast. Tracking the murderer brings him deep into S. America where a Nazi refuge has been established to conduct human experiments in secret. (Second thread)
There are two big surprises in this book that will ensure many more plot twists in the future books of this page-turning series.
We learn more about the enigmatic Constance Greene in this one and part of her story arc is resolved through the third story thread which involves her smitten psychiatrist, Dr. Felder.
If you're already a Pendergast fan, this one won't disappoint. If you're new to the series, I recommend starting earlier on (perhaps at Fever Dream) as this one is the end of the Helen Trilogy. I already can't wait for the next one. Aloysius Pendergast is one of the few main characters that I never tire of.
Rene Auberjonois is the BEST narrator for the Pendergast series. Scott Brick did his best on the earlier books in this series, but nothing compares to Rene Auberjonois who nails Pendergast's charm, intelligence, aloofness, and Southern style.
It was too disjointed. There were too many different stories going on which would not have been a problem except one story appeared in the middle of another and you had to switch gears to get back into that story. The transition could have been smoother. It was odd to see Pendergast so dark. I loved the Constance story. It explains so much. You needed Vincent more.
Constance story line was the most interesting. the Cory story
didn't have one in this book
Readers who are new to the series.
I think they took Pendergast too far out of his character and made the plot difficult for fans to believe.
Pendergast. Rene is wonderful as Pendergast. I can't imagine anyone else performing him.
Pendergast's self destructive scene. It went on too long.
it is too outlandish to be believable. "jumping from the driver's side of a speeding Mercedes
onto the landing gear of a small plane with a bullet wound in his leg and no rest or nourishment for seventy two hours" I don't think so.
I have listened to every single Pendergast book Preston & Child have written. I have been a huge fan. I loved them all up through Fever Dream. Then came Cold Vengeance which I listened to but was extremely disappointed in. I had to listen to Two Graves to finish out the story. I hoped Cold Vengeance was just a temporary lapse and Two Graves would rekindle the spark. I was wrong.
There was a glimmer of hope in the middle of this book but it was extinguished and never revived. It was a laughable premise and that's saying a lot based on the things they have come up with over the years.
I am sorry to say, I will not be listening to any more from this once great series.
The time listening to the book was very well spent. The book tied up some storylines and introduced a new one that may prove interesting. It was a busy book in that it contained three separate arcs, but I was glad to see old "friends" from other books.
The volcano's readiness to erupt on cue was a bit of deus ex machina that seemed weak, as was Pendergast's ability to dislocate and reset his shoulder at will, but otherwise the book was pretty good and I would not know what else to change. I might change Pendergast's decision to let Alban walk away, but perhaps we will be seeing more of him in future books.
I love his voice--it is "mellifluous".
It definitely needs a follow-up book. We cannot have Alban running around loose in the world. We need to see whether or not Constance can help Pendergast heal.
I think the Preston-Child team is terrific. They need to keep Rene Auberjonois as narrator. He IS Pendergast.
Love books, animals and knitting.
yes, always love to hear Rene Auberjonois' voice. Agent Pendergast takes a drastic change in this story. A lot of surprises.
The boy arriving at The Dakota
Like any addiction, the original ecstasy never returns. That is to say honeymoons end. I came late to the series, starting only this year with Still Life with Crows, and I followed it with everything up and until the long wait for Two Graves. Each book subsequent to Still Life was slightly a let down -- none brought me back to the peak of nirvana of the first. This is not to say that the others were poor or unreadable or unrecommendable; only that I could not regain the effects of Still Life.
Awaiting (6 mos) for Two Graves, I was eager to start reading. The first half was stellar. The third quarter good; the final quarter long, tedious and unjustified.
At first I felt manipulated that three discrete story lines were being offered alternatively. but at the end, we were given pages and pages (hours) of Pendergast's show-down in South America. Frankly, I got bored.
The three story lines are treated inequitably. Corrie Swanson returns to this episode, and she has a lot of "stuff" to take care of. She, her problems and her conflict are introduced, her conflict is resolved... that's it.
Constance's story is examined again, a conflict intervenes and is resolved. But these two very interesting parallel story lines are abruptly abandoned so that we can follow AXP playing superhero. Each of the other two stories resolve independent of the main one, but AXP does not contribute to their resolution. This makes me feel cheated of my proper fix of AXP's masterful management of all that is wrong in the world.
For me, and I offered my limited P&C credentials above, AXP drives everything, and in this book, he was off on his own adventures, eschewing help from D'Agosto and Corrie, which would have made the solving much more "real" in the context of these books.
As for the story(ies):
1. The Constance story resolves in this book. The explanation is more than a little implausible, but it fits comfortably with the explanation of Helen's disappearance in the earlier books.
2. Corrie gets to play detective all by herself. She is successful and finds her long-sought happiness. Corrie bears a remarkable resemblance (in behavior, attitude, goals and gall) to Lisbeth Salandar from the Dragon Tattoo Series. P&G's Corrie was created in 2003, well before Larson's books (2011) which is telling!
3. The AXP/Helen/South America story could have been half as long and the above two expanded more deeply. Lots of traveling, planning, reconnoitering, faking and infiltrating taking up many, many pages, and in my opinion wasting good story time.
4. Thrown in for good measure is some progress in D'Agosto's life.
again... nothing interactive among all the beloved characters. It's like three different books (novellas) packaged as one big novel.
I wouldn't recommend this to a new P&C reader, but for a fan, Two Graves is a MUST read. Some of the early parts are classic P&C.
I have faith the next installments will be 100% wonderful again.