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.
At last the skeins of the Helen trilogy come together. Here are some assorted impressions:
Two Graves verges on too much in one book. It definitely is not a stand-alone book, but needs the backdrop of Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance for completion. Someone who has not read those first books of the trilogy could follow the story but would miss much of the significance of relationships & events.
For those who have read Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance, I don't think it's a spoiler to mention that a major feature of Two Graves is an isolated Nazi organization/colony upholding WWII traditions. I bring up this plot device because I quickly became worried, as it has become hackneyed over the years & I was concerned that the book would degenerate into a worn-out tale. Should have relied on Lincoln/Child to put in new twists that avoid that pitfall.
It's impossible to become a complacent reader because Lincoln/Child have a history of killing off our old friends integral to several earlier books as well as likable new characters (innocent or not). As always, the only certainty is that Pendergast will be there at the end.
All the Pendergast books have side stories, but parts of this one wander a bit far from the overall story line (but maybe my memory is fuzzy on this point about the earlier books).
Although much becomes clear in Two Graves, there are enough loose ends to ensure that there's more Pendergast to come...
I liked the fact that they wrapped up some long standing loose ends in this book, however in very un-Preston & Child fashion there were several unnecessarily overly graphic areas where I actually stopped listening and even fast forwarded past them.
Mixed media artist, drummer, and Audible listener - 863 titles and counting!
Another installment in a much-appreciated series is always welcome.
I think I have read them all! So, I am invested in the next one. Would like to see one with the Cory character featured, in fact. She could be interesting with the Pendergast connection to add flavor.
Characters are always more fully fleshed-out when you can hear them speak rather than having to create the voice in your head. I do like Rene, and this was a challenging book with so many characters. He did a great job.
Yes, and I listened to it while I was doing some serious decluttering so I was able to listen to long stretches at a time. I skipped forward through the Brasil piece pretty fast...I think it would have played better in a movie, but was too long for listening. The pace seemed glacial for such an action part of the story.
If you are a fan, then you will read this whether or not it's the best in the series. In fact, I am now going to go back and re-listen to the rest of the series. I did find this rather like a sandwich made with tasty leftovers, though. A little D'Agosta, a spice of Caroline, a dollop of Cory, a layer of Helen (past her best-by date), and some lashings of Pendergast. His Japanese maid and his chauffeur/bodyguard were kind of like pickles, though. Interesting up to a point, but ultimately did not add much flavor.
It was incredibly imaginative. I would not have had a clue how some things would unfold.
I don't have another book to compare it to. I've read all of the Preston/Child books and this is one of my favorites.
I like how he is consistent with the characters in each book read.
Really well done. Will definitely listen again and again. I can't wait for the next book!
Narration and production are both excellent. Story is fast-paced.
I'm only about 60 minutes into the story, having just downloaded and started it last night. Sounds like it is classic Pendergast at his unique best. Can't wait to hear all the details and character development. Love this series. So sad when the books end.
So far, the discussion about tailoring and ties. Also the very fast ride in the Mercedes, with the technical driving details. But like I said, I have just started the book. I'm sure there is much excitement ahead.
Wish I could. If I were on vacation at the beach, definitely, I would listen to it in one sitting. Alas, I do not have that kind of freedom or time right now.
Have been looking forward to this book and have read or listened to all the others, most more than once. Sounds like it is going to be as good as or better than the previous books. Keep up the good work, authors. Love your work. Great job! Thank you.
Definitely, it is another great story
Any of the other Pendergast novels (obviously) but other than these, I cannot think of another book or series to compare "Two Graves" to as I think the Pendergast series is unique
Brilliant (1) and outstanding (2); especially his interpretation of Pendergast. However, I have given the performance only 3 stars due to the (in part) ghastly (3) pronunciation of the German lines. Hachette should be using (native) language advisors to avoid ruining a great book.That said, having listened to all the Pendergast novels, I cannot imagine a better narrator to perform these.
Looking forward to the next book in the series
I would not recommend it, and certainly not for anyone who has been following this series.
The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connolly.. a Mickey Haller, and always look forward to this series.
Auboerjonois is amazing and in this instance his narration was the only thing I actually enjoyed about the audiobook. He is very natural in his ability to just slightly change inflection, accent, and tone to differentiate, even between male/female.
More than one, but in this case the whole storyline involving Dr. Felder and the young woman (so boring I don't recall her name). And more of Corey in the actual main part of the story instead of another insipid and unsatisfying side story....
All good things must come to an end, I suppose. After years of developing really great characters (D'Agostino, Nora, Viola, and Corey), it seems the authors have grown weary, and in turn became lazy and sloppy with all aspects of this book, plot, characters. It left me with the impression that the franchise of these books is more about profit, not craft. I have experienced this with other authors who wrote 20+ books in a series, ie Janet Evanavich, the Scarpetta series to name a couple.
I won't be buying anymore of this series.
"Two Graves" by Preston and Child is a wonderfully wicked novel that will leave any listener far from any digging utensils for quite some time. This long novel takes the listener on a mystery rollercoaster ride that will leave many fans looking at their garage or any neighbor carrying a gardening shovel in a entirely different way. Because charecter development is so deep, and Pendergasts' F.B.I. and personal veneer cracks so unexpectantly, any listener would have to be insane not to delight in, what I think is, P&C's, best novel of their careers. I would definitely listen to it again, especially because of the superb and wickedly delightful narration of Rene Auberjonois. He plays a huge part in this books success. He definitely brings this story to life.This new novel is so incredably complex that any P&C fan may need to listen to it more than once, if only to truly enjoy every delightful twist and turn. It is so thoroughly constructed that, despite the book's length, any new or old Preston and Child fan will delight in this convoluted and thought provoking mystery. It is so good that listening to the novel only once may not be enough for any fan. It is truly a wickedly delightful literary ride that many will remember for a very long time. A great listen.
Yes, because it was read by a great talent
It was a story that none of us should ever forget. The story had a great message akin to the saying what goes around comes around
He has a great speaking voice
That you should dig two graves, if revenge is your motive.