Sunday, June 5, 2016

REVIEW: The Cabinet of Curiousities

The Cabinet of Curiousities
Authors: Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

A construction crew in  New York City uncovers a buried charnel house containing 36 skeletons. Agent  Pendergast, a pale and strange man, appears at the New York Museum of Natural History, and pulls Archaeologist Dr. Nora Kelly into the 100-year old murder case.  From the clothing and personal effects, Kelly ascertains all the remains are of poor people -- street, kids, factory workers, prostitutes -- and all were killed in the same way. Their spinal cords were severed and some portions extracted. Their investigation soon causes an avalanche of anger within the NYC political powers-that-be. A wealthy developer, city hall, the mayor's office, the police commissioner and even the museum director want the investigation stopped.  Dr. Kelly is up to her neck in hot water and the case, when new corpses begin showing up, killed in the same gruesome manner.  Agent Pendergast gathers a team consisting of a NYC cop, a NY Times reporter and Dr. Kelly to help him solve the case before more people are killed. It turns out that much, much more is at stake than just murder victims. If they fail, the future of the entire human race might be threatened.

This book is the 3rd in the Agent Pendergast series by Preston & Child. I read the first two books years ago -- Relic and Reliquary -- and loved them. Now years later while perusing my local library's digital offerings, I checked out Brimstone, only realizing then that it was the 5th book in the series. I am seriously OCD about reading a series in order, so I backed up to read The Cabinet of Curiousities and Still Life With Crows first. I'm so glad I found this series again! I love a good creepy mystery -- and The Cabinet of Curiousity was exactly what I adore!

Agent Pendergast is a strange, almost supernatural character at times, and very human at others. The character is portrayed as almost unknowable -- like The Shadow from old radio and televison serials. I am a total OTR addict, so I was sucked right into the story immediately. The plot moved at a good pace, and the supporting characters were believable enough to keep a sense of reality. The strange, supernatural, or magical qualities of Pendergast did not overwhelm the story, but enhanced it.

The end result was a creepy thrill-ride that I couldn't put down. I was totally engrossed in the story.

There are 16 books in the Agent Pendergast series. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child also co-author the Gideon Crew series. There was a movie version of the first Pendergast novel released in 1997. The movie had good box-office reception and reviews, but on their website the authors state it wasn't a good representation of their main character, Agent Pendergast. I don't remember much about the movie other than it was thrilling and enjoyable. I do remember feeling at the time that the book was better. But -- isn't that always the case?? :)

If you like creepy, supernatural-feel, thrillers -- read this series!! There are some important plot points and character introductions in the earlier read them in order to get the full effect. They aren't quick reads, but mindful, engrossing stories so be prepared to set aside uninterrupted brain-time!

I don't normally give books a 5....for me, a 5 is like an A+ and not something to award without extreme perfection. This book came close....solid 4.5.

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