In lower Manhattan, excavators make a gruesome discovery: the buried bone stash of a late-19th-century serial killer. After a newspaper reporter broadcasts the story of this ghastly archaeological find, deadly things begin to happen. Murder follows murder. Who is holding New York City in fear: Is he a copycat killer or is he the rightful heir of the Five Points madman? Fortunately, FBI agent Pendergast and his cohorts are on the case.
In seven bestselling novels (from Relic to The Ice Limit), Preston and Child have delivered a body of science-based thrillers that for high excitement and robust scientific imaginings rival those of Michael Crichton. Their eighth outing is another richly entertaining tale, about the hunt for a seemingly immortal serial killer at work in New York City. Preston and Child revive characters and settings from earlier novels, often a red flag that authorial imagination is tiring; but in this case, all comes together with zing. There's FBI Special Agent Pendergast (from Relic), pale, refined and possessed of a Holmes-like brain; dogged New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr. and his fiery erstwhile girlfriend, Nora Kelly of the New York (read American, where Preston used to work) Museum of Natural History (both characters from Thunderhead with the museum the setting for Relic). The action begins when groundbreaking for an apartment tower in downtown Manhattan reveals a charnel house of murder victims from the late 19th century. Enter Pendergast, who for unexplained reasons taps Kelly to study the remains before the site is stripped by the building's developer, a Donald Trump-type who, with the mayor's backing, will accept no construction delays. As Kelly calls on Smithback for investigative help, the city is struck by killings that duplicate the earlier murders, with the victims' spinal cords ripped away and clues pointing to a 19th-century scientist who sought the secret of immortality. 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. (June 3) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This absolutely terrific thriller brings together a lot of old friends from previous books: FBI Special Agent Pendergast and New York Times reporter Bill Smithback (Relic and Reliquary), archaeologist Nora Kelly (Thunderhead), and the New York Museum of Natural History (Relic). This time, the historical shenanigans center on a serial killer who operated 130 years ago out of a "Cabinet of Curiosities," a scientific sideshow of sorts that was the 19th-century precursor to natural history museums. With the help of Smithback and Kelly, Agent Pendergast determines that the killer harvested parts from living human beings and distilled them into an elixir that would, in turn, allow him to live forever. It was a gruesome business in 1870, and it is no less terrifying when "copycat" killings start anew in 2002. Could there really be a murderer on the loose for 130 years? 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. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-FBI Special Agent Pendergast needs the talents of Nora Kelly, an archaeologist, and William Smithback, Jr., a researcher and reporter, to track down a serial killer whom he is sure has been stalking his prey since the late-19th century. When a real-estate developer demolishes a building and finds victims of a murderer who killed by tearing out their spinal columns, the three team up to pursue the evil behind the acts. Along the way, they nearly lose their lives as they relentlessly track the killer who, indeed, is still alive at the beginning of the 21st century. Pendergast stands out as a unique character, mysterious in his own right, with almost superhuman strength and endurance, and encyclopedic knowledge, and the human emotions and abilities of his two assistants intensifies interest in them. The authors again weave facts from New York City history with a thriller plot to produce an adventure filled with fast-moving events, gruesome scenes, and enough scary moments to keep the pages turning quickly. Fans of Preston and Child's Relic (Tor, 1996) or Reliquary (Forge, 1997) will enjoy this title as well.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"This is an intense and interesting story, entwining the quest for eternal life with the history of America, New York, and present-day politics and influence. Rene Auberjonois crafts his narration with great care; each word is voiced with perfect tone, pitch, and emotion, and each character is provided with a fitting personality. The result is narration that flows beautifully while providing insight into the story and those who inhabit it. Satisfyingly imbued with thrills and suspense, the prose is fully realized in Auberjonois's performance, and he even manages to make some of the more fantastic aspects seem reasonable. A totally engrossing experience."AudioFile Magazine