Probably the Best Pendergast Tale from Preston and Child!
May 2, 2009
This is about the eighth book I have read by Messrs Preston & Child and it was the best of the bunch! This book grabbed me from the start and was very difficult to put down. Once again we are back at the New York Museum of Natural History with Special Agent Pendergast and reporter Smithback from Relic and Reliquary and Nora from Thunderhead as the main characters.
The book takes place not that long after the end of Thunderhead. Nora has relocated to New York and has taken a job doing research for the museum. She gets a sudden visit from Special Agent Pendergast who requests that she accompany him to a lower Manhattan site where there is an excavation going on for putting up a building. Reluctantly, she accompanies him and they learn that a chamber was unearthed that has a lot of skeletons; victims of a 19th century serial killer. The chamber is under the site that once had a cabinet of curiosities which was another name for a museum (however, it was one that charged a fee kind of like the Ripley's Believe it or not museums).
The police and the construction company want the chamber cleared immediately so they can continue construction on the site. Pendergast wants Nora to use her archeological expertise to examine the remains and let him know anything that she can about them. This opens up a whole can of worms because the construction company fears that the site will be declared an historical landmark and they will be prevented from building. They put pressure on the mayor and the museum to have Pendergast and Nora stopped.
Nora tells all this to Smithback (now her boyfriend) who writes an article in the Times describing the site and suggesting a cover-up. Almost immediately victims are killed in the same manner as the victims from the site and police blame Smithback for his article saying that he created a copycat killer.
The book continues and we find that the past has a great deal to do with what is happening in the present and understanding the past is the only way to save more victims going forward.
With this book we finally get a look into Pendergast's personal life and his childhood. I had found him annoying in the prior books and almost bumbling. In this book we appreciate his intellect and find him to be a real hero-type.
The authors also seem to borrow some tricks used by Jack Finney in his From Time to Time books.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
What's your opinion on The Cabinet of Curiousities?