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Still Life with Crows: A Novel | [Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child]

Still Life with Crows: A Novel

For the first time in unabridged audio! A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground. Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy? Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land? Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heart.
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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in unabridged audio!

A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground. Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy? Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land? Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heart.

©2004 Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child (P)2011 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"As usual, Preston and Child deftly mix the real and the surreal, creating an atmosphere in which everything, for reasons we can't quite nail down, seems a tad off-kilter. Call it creeping paranoia, perhaps, or the dreadful certainty that something awful is about to happen. Whatever you call it, it's a recipe for success." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1832 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-05-12
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2010

    An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

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    "SCARY, WEIRD, ENGAGING"

    Preston & Child know how to push my "creepy" buttons. Very good.

    I would choose a different narrator. Narrator David Colacci did a much better job in "The Relic" - the first Pendergast novel.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Colorado Springs 07-23-12
    Michele Colorado Springs 07-23-12 Member Since 2001

    I am the author of "Inner Fears", a thriller by MFKing. I am a social media manager for Jazz Social Media. Audio books are my main entertainment, and I think the best entertainment offered today.

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    "Great escape"

    Still Life With Crows
    by Preston & Child

    WI/NWI-4 An old story well-told is always worth listening to again. The setting of the book, taking you into the corn, and the flawless and entertaining performance make this book definitely WI--worth it!

    Plot-2 The plot of the book has been used a lot before, even from these authors themselves! It is predictable, and when the big "reveals" came up, I had known what was going to happen almost from the beginning.

    Characterization-4 There were a lot of characters so it can be hard to remember the guy who just got eaten, but the main ones were developed well. Their super hero FBI agent was great, the sheriff is the small town hero and well done, and they have a character arc in the young girl who found herself. There is a bad guy and a monster. Gr8!

    Violence-5 Huge, amazing, constant violence. Don't leave home without it.

    Grossness-5 This is the main feature of this book. People and animals are killed, flayed, boiled, pulled limb-from limb and terrorized and tortured.

    Sex-0 No sex, I'm afraid.

    Supernatural Elements--2 They hint at supernatural abilities in the FBI agent Pendergast, that he can bring time up to the present. But they don't elaborate.

    Crossing the Line-4 To me, crossing the line is brutal murdering animals (especially dogs), or children. Stephen King is the worst offender. Here, they hurt dogs and murder them, so they definitely cross the line of decency. If you are sensitive, skip this book.

    Setting-5 This is so well done. I felt throughout the listen that I was in Kansas, in the deep corn, the caverns, in hot summer. A great escape.

    Performance-5 Scott Brick is amazing. I can't get enough of him. He can change voices so fast that no mapping occurs--I can't hear the last voice in the new one. He never tires. What a pro!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan ORANGE PARK, FL, United States 10-12-12
    Alan ORANGE PARK, FL, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2011

    Really enjoy listening to these books sure am glad I was introduced to Audible. Best dollar I've ever spent.

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    "Another Winner"

    This is another great one with Pendergast as the main character that sets things straight.
    Exciting and never a dull moment. Recommend this to anyone who is a Preston & Child fan. As always the characters are well developed and connect together with style.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 07-21-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 07-21-12 Member Since 2006

    65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

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    "Like the old horror movie "The Thing.""

    Preston and Childs can write, and Scott Brick can narrate, but this is not the best work of any of them. The book starts out on a pretty topical theme: the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a very rural cornfield in Medicine Creek ("Crick"), Kansas. FBI agent Pendergast is an interesting if somewhat contrived protagonist. This is the first book I have read in this series, and I am not sure I'll read another. The book quickly devolves into a series of ghastly murders by a large being which truly recalls The Thing, and whose vocabulary consists entirely of the utterance, "Muh." The murders become more and more ornate. There is competition between Medicine Crick and the neighboring town, Dieper, of which it might be said, be careful what you wish for. Both are dying towns, hoping that the experimental cornfield will happily stimulate their withering economies. Then the authors throw in a mysterious, reclusive scientist in a tumble-down mansion in New York City, a completely unnecessary and unrelated plot device. There are a few chuckles along the way, but one wishes for "Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein." (Lord, that does date me, doesn't it?) The book actually ends up being a kind of still life itself. If you are interested in the best of these guys, The Ice Limit is it, by a large distance. The authors actually mention that book twice in the text of this one, as if acknowledging the vast superiority of their finest work. Read that one.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Austin, TX 07-21-11
    Jack Austin, TX 07-21-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Finally the Whole Story"

    I have read and/or listened to every Preston/Child book. And Crows is one of my favorites, only out ranked by Cabinet of Curiosities. I was happy to see that they finally had an unabridged version available, and with Scott Brick you can't go wrong. Pendergast is the one of best characters in modern thrillers, here he shines. Great Read and Listen!!!!

    22 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginger Canton, GA, United States 08-11-11
    Ginger Canton, GA, United States 08-11-11 Member Since 2010
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    "best suspense story of the year!"

    this novel was the best suspense audio book that I have listened to this year. If I could give it 6 stars, I would. The plot was well written, twisting and turning, keeping you on the edge of your seat...never boring...the characters were well developed and the descriptive powers of Preston and Childs brought everything to life for me....i.e. after the turkey packing plant description, I'm not sure if I'll ever eat turkey again! I had a clear picture in my mind of the whole setting and happenings. The narrator, Scott Brick was also excellent. I never got tired of his voice and he performed all the characters without flaw. If you are looking for a unique detective story that keeps you listening until the wee hours of the night, then this is the book for you. This is how all audio books should be!
    enjoy!

    17 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-08-12
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

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    "Silly"

    Agent Pendergast is a paragon in virtually every respect, and nearly all the people he interacts with are blundering fools. Still he is kind to these lesser beings, treating them with a gracious noblesse oblige. He even mentors the one worthy, though generally clueless, character the authors provide as a modern day Watson, slightly humanizing a central character whose smarmy aloofness we would find insufferable if we met him at work.

    The plot belongs in a specimen jar, a grotesquerie which has everything in common with many other twisted horror specimens but which is completely devoid of any elements we can actually relate to and therefore lacks the power to do anything but jump out and startle us. And, as in most horror films, since we have never been given reasons to care about any but the central characters, there is really no suspense or terror. All the rest are fodder in the tedious munch toward the inevitable regurgitation.

    Unfortunately, Scott Brick's repetitive and increasingly histrionic vocal patterns succeed only in underscoring the silliness of the writing. This is definitely not his best work.

    I realize that this series is beloved by a huge audience, and I freely admit that the entire genre of horror tends to leave me cold while my friends shiver in their seats. In some essential way, I just don't "get it." So take the review with more than a single grain of salt. But if it sounds like something you might have thought yourself on occasion after reading the latest vampire thriller or international super agent fare, you may want to consider before using your credit.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 03-29-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "It was a Miserable little Town of Miserable People"

    Once again all the cops are red neck idiots and they need Aleysius Xingu Leng Pendergast to set them straight. When push comes to shove the cops become sniveling little cry babies. (I sure hope Preston or Child get that parking ticket straightened out.)

    If you are a die hard Pendergast or P/C fan, then you will not like this review so do yourself a favor, mark not helpful and move on.

    This starts out slow like most P/C novels. At chapter 17 it gets real good and stays that way to chapter 38. Then like most P/C novels there is a four hour chase scene, to come to a conclusion that everyone, but an idiot from a small town in Kansas has figured out. That's if you go with the cliche way in which Kansas small town people are treated in this book. All the characters are miserable, not a happy person in the town.

    From the way the small Kansas town is described, I do not believe Preston and Child have ever been in Kansas. The timeline is somewhere after 2002, yet everybody is driving AMC gremlins and Hornets. AMC went out of business in 1987. If you go to Kansas, as I do once a week, you will find they drive mostly Ford and Chevy pickup trucks, especially in farming communities as this is suppose to be. The town is surrounded by cornfields and they want this company to come in and plant evil genetically modified corn to provide more jobs. The main employer is a Turkey processing plant. Hello P&C, Turkey Processing Plants are built next to Turkey Farms, not cornfields. If you have a Turkey Processing Plant then you will also have a large Mexican American Community or Illegal Aliens. You might have a diner in town, which serves meat and potatoes as describe, but you will also have at least one Mexican Restaurant. It's sign will be hand painted in Green and Red. A girl who lives in a trailer park will not have a neighbor with built in lawn sprinklers. The church will not be Lutheran it will be Catholic.

    Pendergast does his going back in time thing again. It is explained as a thing called Chongg Ran, which is taught in Tibet. Essentially if you do lots of research and study this Chongg Ran, you will be able to go into a trance and go back to any time and you will see what should have happened. According to Preston and Child, Chongg Ran has never been published it is a secret teaching and is only taught orally to other monks and Preston and Child. In other words they made it up. May be in the next book Pendergast will do some Remote Viewing.

    I did give this three stars and it does have some great parts, it is just to bad it is surrounded by Cliches, Long Chase scenes and boring miniscule descriptions about law enforcement. No one cares about the politics they keep putting into these books.

    About the narrator. I have made plain before how I feel about Scott Brick. It is hard to explain his style. You know how you have listened to some narrators who are monotone and every line is read the same boring way. Brick is exactly the opposite. Every sentence is read as it is the most exciting thing in the world. In one part he reads about Pendergast picking up a phone and putting it back in the cradle. It is read like The Eagle Has Landed!!!!. Sixteen hours of everything is stupendously exciting is draining. Having said that SB was probably the best person to read this, as he really captures the whole everyone is a miserable character aspect.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Arlington, TX 01-28-13
    Phillip Arlington, TX 01-28-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Fairly Ridiculous"

    The premise for this entire story is rather silly. The set of circumstances that would allow such an event are far-fetched, to say the least. I had read a couple of the Pendergast novels prior to getting this one. I found those to be good, light tales for the purpose of diversion. I found myself unable to suspend belief with this one though. Its one saving grace was the narration by Scott Brick. I'm sure devotees of the series will love it...others may want to skip this one.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Seattle, WA, United States 06-06-12
    Dennis Seattle, WA, United States 06-06-12 Member Since 2004

    Like action, adventures, war stories, militay happenings, historical readings-fiction, & mysteries. Unabridged only! Reader IMPORT!

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    "Very dry story --- even with the great Scott Brick"

    It seemed to me that the characters in the book were "dumber than dust"! This characteristic lead to a very dry story!! The FBI agent did help & so did Scott Brick --- BUT IT JUST WAS not ENOUGH!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 118 results PREVIOUS1212NEXT
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  • E R Duff
    Scotland
    9/25/12
    Overall
    "Greeeaaattttt!!!!!"

    A really good listen - the narrator Scott Brick is very good at the various voices and change of character, does Pendergast really well. All must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tammy Smith
    London, United Kingdom
    5/10/12
    Overall
    "Great novel!"

    I read a bunch of reviews on line and this one seems like a fan favorite!
    If this is what happens when Pendergast goes on vacation; I really wouldn't want to go on a cruise with him.
    The endless quiet rural Kansas landscape becomes an isolating, terrifying place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    8/22/11
    Overall
    "Corn fields are always scary!!!!"

    A small town is gradually dying, economically, and now, through its population. While the council try to bring money back in through a grant with the university genetic corn program, something freaky is stalking the populace, bumping them off in apparent ritualistic styles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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