At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning - and dreadful - discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle - her only protection from the beast - had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?
With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. Helen Pendergast had nursed a secret obsession with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon, in particular a long-lost painting of his known as the Black Frame.
As Pendergast probes more deeply into the riddle - the answer to which is revealed in a night of shocking violence, deep in the Louisiana bayou - he finds himself faced with an even greater question: who was the woman he married?
©2010 Lincoln Child (P)2010 Hachette
"Once again, the bestselling authors show they have few peers at creating taut scenes of suspense. Their restraint in the book's early sections make the payoffs all the more compelling." (Publishers Weekly)
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.)
To be honest, I've not read most of the Pendergast books. Only (Relic, Reliquary, and Still Life with Crows). I thought that I had probably missed to much in the intervening books to enjoy "Fever Dream", but this has got to be best book of 2010 that I've read. As you have probably seen from the author's notes that this story reflects around the revelation that Agent Pendergast wife death was actually a murder and the ensuing investigation by Pendergast and D'Agosta. I usually expect the story to revolve around Pendergast et al. trying to solve a seemingly supernatural case, but this one is a bit different, and I think that is what makes it so good. It shows a hastier, edgier, more impulsive Pendergast with D'Agosta as the more balanced character. For me, this really fleshed out Pendergast, showing that even he had a breaking point. This book doesn't really do anything new and remarkable with the characters. Rather it dives deeper into their histories, and showing sides we haven't seen before. The book starts out with a great deal of action, and while a large part of the book centers around the investigation, you never feel like the book is dragging its feet, or that its giving back ground information just to fill space. Also since, apparently I've missed a lot of the Pendergast books, I was able to glean enough in this book to know what I need to know without giving away the prior books story lines.
Rene Auberjonois does a great job with the narration. The best part of his narration though, is that since he's been in Star Trek's Deep Space Nine, you can almost picture him as Pendergast when he is reading those lines. I hope audible comes out with the rest of Pendergast Books in Unabridged format so I can see what I missed over the years.
Having read everything written by Douglas Preston and/or Lincoln Child, I was really looking forward to "Fever Dream" and it was worth the wait. Except for quick mentions here and there, nothing was ever told about Helen Pendergast in all of the other books. But it's all here. The story is good and the action is intense. I hope there will be a "book 2" here because they left some things hanging. It's an absolute must read for Pendergast fans.
This is my first Pendergast book but it will not be the last. I loved the main character, the plot that pushes but does not cross the edge of believability, and the setting. I didn't like the opening chapters - they were almost enough to make me stop listening - but as I got into the book, I found it more and more compelling, even as major pieces of the story fell into place.
I am sick of formulaic books with named serial killers and overly serious characters, and recommend this to others looking for a smart but almost tongue-in-cheek story. Usually the main character being shot at over and over is a sign of a poorly plotted story, but I am ignoring that and going to buy the other books in the series.
Lots of action, twists and turns. No need to read prior books of the series to get into this one.
If you have not read "Cabinet of Curiosities" you will want to after reading this book (or you can read it first).
I have been drawn into this series since the first book. The narration is excellent and the flow and pace is as good as it gets. I sincerely hope they continue writing more.
I really enjoy all of the Pendergast stories but I do believe this was my favorit. I am looking forward to the next one.
I enjoyed the book -- perhaps not my favorite in the series, but I very much enjoyed the story -- but the book had no ending. The devastating "betrayal" is mentioned but not revealed. And whats up with Constance? She came off like a Greek chorus. . .
Strangely, in this book the surreal scenes were more realistic to me than some of the more mundane scenes.
I always look forward to the books in this series. And I liked the story, but gave it 4 stars for lack of an ending. The narrator was excellent and the production quality was good.
So good I did not want it to end. I am happy to hear it is the first of three in the "Helen" part of the Pendergast series.
"The Story continues."
Having enjoyed the series since the beginning, I think this is one of my favourites. Great exploration of the depths of Pendergast's (still enigmatic) character as well of those of D'Agosta and Hayward. A real whistle-stop tour of Pendergast's global travels with the usual thoroughness of detail and a "couldn't put it down" plot.
"Slow plot but gradually gets going."
I was a little disappointed with the pace of the story, but it eventually gets going. Maybe the abridged version would be a better listen?
It doesn't have the edge of the seat storyline that some of Preston's earlier works have but its still an enjoyable listen.
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