I began re-reading the Pendergast series as there is a new book due out May 19, 2009. I like to refamiliarize myself with the books and characters in a series before I start the new one. The characters of Pendergast, Margo Green, Vincent D’Agosta, and a journalist named William Smithback, Jr. appear in this book as well as the next two and then more after that.
Relic is the first book in a series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child together. Although they do write separately, I much prefer their combined genius. Bunny said I had to give my book reviews a tag with the genre. The style of these two authors gave me a hard time with this.
At first, I put down murder mystery. Which it is. But it is so much more! It could be classified as adventure, suspense, fantasy, even “creature feature” but none of these were conclusive. The vivid descriptions of the gruesome details of the murders made me want to add Horror to the tag list. But in combining all of these together, I came up with Thriller. Which it most DEFINITELY is.
Relic is set in the New York Museum of Natural History where Margo Green is a grad student. After two children are found murdered in the museum, the New York police dept, under Lt. Vincent D’Agosta, descend on the museum. Because of a spectacular new exhibition soon to open, the museum is reluctant to close even after a couple more murders prove this isn’t a lone incident. Lt. D’Agosta is pressured into letting them hold a huge gala against his better judgement. Too much money has already been spent and the political higher-ups are in agreement.
The bizarre murders prompt the appearance of one Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI who’s been investigating similar murders in New Orleans. For Relic, Pendergast takes a bit of a back seat. But you still get a sense of the “aura” surrounding him. He is a tall, aristocratic Southern Gentleman. (Notice I capitalized both of those. You’ll see why when you read the book.) He has pale skin and hair so blonde it’s white but he’s NOT albino. He always wears expensive black suits that must have a dozen hidden pockets because he’s always pulling out test tubes of chemicals or to store evidence in. And……..he’s brilliant. As in Mensa Genius. Even though you don’t get a real sense of who Pendergast really is until book 3, his character is highly developed in Relic, although the movie version left him out entirely. (by the way, don’t watch the movie. It’s a true dud and only superficially resembles the book.)
As the story proceeds the twists and turns are action filled and downright scary most of the time. This is a great book to read at night when you’re home alone. LOL! Eventually you end up lost in the tunnels under the museum with the “hideous monster” of your worst nightmares just one step behind you. The horrid “goatish smell” is all there is to let you know you’re next on the menu.
Although it sounds a bit overdone, believe me when I say the suspense is real; the action is fast, the fear for even the most unknown of characters is heart breaking. All in all the book is quite “Thrilling”. I HIGHLY recommend reading this series in order as the characters become more and more defined as the series progresses.