Anne-Marie, June 11, 2013 (view all comments by Anne-Marie)
You are sucked in to the characters from the first few pages, and the descriptions of the early twenties in New York are vivid. There is thrill, mystery, science and scientific curiosity, natural history, and of course the intrigue you expect from Preston and Child. I loved it.
mazerlodge, January 6, 2012 (view all comments by mazerlodge)
Aside from being a catchy title, a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is a real thing- the term refers to a collection of, well, stuff. Usually some sort of theme was pursued- mounted animals, geological collections (aka Rocks), bones, insects, plants, etc. Along with genuine articles, fakes could be mixed in and maybe even favored. The reason for the collection could be any number of things, the book implied wealthy people might acquire things into these collections for their own amusement (and presumably to impress and entertain their friends) while other people have created collections then charged admission.
The book, the third in a series, opens with an enigmatic FBI agent enlisting the help of a anthropology professional from the New York Museum of Natural History to investigate a freshly discovered charnel house (vocabulary day- think vault full of bodies, mostly bones remaining).
A brief examination of the bodies indicates they didn’t die of natural causes. When noticing all the corpses have spinal injuries, the age of the find and the number of dead, a record breaking serial killer is suspected. It is no easy investigation though, as our heroes are sent away and prevented from preserving the site. The associated questions of who did this and why are answered through the rest of the book as our FBI agent and the good doctor from the museum are undeterred in their investigation, and motivated by a new series of killings suggesting a copycat or continuation of a hundred year old crime.
The two lead characters have a third added to their group, a New York Times reporter. This forms a character group that is manageable and yet has enough opportunity for unique interactions to keep the book moving. A roster of supporting characters are introduced as needed, serve there purpose, and the book moves on. The supporting cast stay an appropriate time and re-enter the story enough to develop and earn the readers interest in caring about their actions, but without being burdened with an overly involved back-story. This is distinct from another style of writing where a huge list of people are introduced at the beginning of a book, each developing a back story with indeterminate relevance, and then gradually converging.
This book isn’t a roller coaster, the pace of the book accelerates steadily to the finish. An epilogue provides the cool down. All together, a solid work.
Annette P, September 4, 2010 (view all comments by Annette P)
Knowing nothing about the Pendergast series, I started with this, the third book. Mystery, action, adventure - the Preston and Child novels have it all, and this one is no exception. The vivid characters and curious plot twists are titillating and drove me forward - I hated for the story to end! I think The Cabinet of Curiosities may be my favorite in the series, maybe because it introduced me to Preston and Child and gave me an exciting introduction to a thrilling series. I would love to see this and any of the other Pendergast novels up on the big screen, that's how they read - like a fast-action thrill ride movie. One nice thing is that this book reads well as a stand-alone - you don't need to have read the series first to read this book.
crowyhead, August 21, 2006 (view all comments by crowyhead)
Sadly, I've now read all of the Pendergast novels. Fortunately, I seem to have inadvertantly saved the best for last! Cabinet of Curiosities is definitely my favorite of all of them. At a construction site in New York City, workers unearth more than thirty skeletons, evidence of a serial killer operating more than 100 years ago. Soon afterward, a chilling series of copycat murders are perpetrated by a killer dubbed The Surgeon by the press. Agent Pendergast believes that there is a connection; in fact, he thinks the killings are the work of one man operating for more than a century...
This definitely kept my adrenaline going; I read it during my commute, and I kept having to put it down at seriously crucial moments, which led to me chomping at the bit to finish work so I could find out what happened next. It's totally the literary equivalent of a good scary movie -- you find yourself mentally shouting, "No! Don't go in there!" at the characters. Fantastic stuff!
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Warner Books -
by Mike I,
Weird happenings at NYC's Museum of Natural History follow the discovery of a 19th-century, mass grave. Spines cut from corpses. Impalements on dinosaur horns. It's all frightful enough to rouse the FBI's quirkiest investigator — the pale, enigmatic, ingenious Agent Pendergast. The chase is soon afoot. This fast, forensic-filled thriller blends history and horror into a perfect summer distraction.
by Mike I
by Publishers Weekly,
"Featuring fabulous locales, colorful characters, pointed riffs on city and museum politics, cool forensic and paleontological speculation and several gripping set pieces including an extended white-knuckle climax, this a great beach novel, at times gruesome, always fun: Preston-Child at the top of their game."
by Library Journal,
"This adventure has all the elements of the perfect summer read: the wonderfully spooky atmosphere, the dogged reporter smitten with the lovely scientist, and the mysteriously prescient FBI agent. Authors Preston and Child have been hot since Relic, and here they score another big winner."
In downtown Manhattan, a gruesome discovery has just been made — an underground charnel house containing the bones of dozens of murder victims. Research reveals that a serial killer was at work in New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood in the 1880s, bent on prolonging his lifespan by any means. When a newspaper story on the old murders appears to ignite a new series of horrifyingly similar killings, panic overtakes New York City. Now, FBI agent Pendergast, journalist Bill Smithback, and archaeologist Nora Kelly join forces to protect themselves from a vicious killer...before they become the next victims.
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