Strange doings, but Preston and Child are smart, skillful writers who have fun spinning their tall tale, and if you enjoy things-that-go-bump-in-the-night thrillers, you'll have fun reading it.
This latest Preston and Child thriller, even in abbreviated form, offers gore galore, mutilations, bizarre ritual murders, an obstreperous sheriff, a young woman in jeopardy, a town consumed by terror and a spooky local legend-in short, an abundance of traditional suspense novel ingredients. Compensating for this apparent lack of imagination is the thriller's remarkable hero, Special Agent Pendergast, who's on leave from the FBI. This somewhat ethereal, cerebral specialist in macabre murders is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Mulder of The X-Files, but with his courtly Southern manner and combat expertise, he's very much his own man. Narrator Auberjonois, a familiar stage and screen presence, uses an appropriately silky accent and a playfully sarcastic tone for Pendergast. Auberjonois is equally successful with the other characters, especially the hard-headed but good-hearted Sheriff Dent Hazen, who emerges as a Wilfred Brimley minus the bluster; 18-year-old town rebel Corrie Swanson; and the killer, whose method of communication would challenge any vocal interpreter. Equally important, Auberjonois narrates the tale with the sort of mesmerizing intensity that can, and does, turn a fairly familiar yarn into a scary campfire chillfest. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, June 2). (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Our favorite mysterious FBI Agent Pendergast returns from his last adventure (Cabinet of Curiosities), arriving in tiny Medicine Creek, KS, just in time to investigate a series of gruesome murders. Life in rural Medicine Creek usually revolves around the local turkey-processing plant and growing corn, but all hell breaks loose when a female corpse is found in a clearing in a cornfield, surrounded by a ring of dead crows impaled on arrows. Things only get worse when a second body is displayed in another clearing, just a few feet from the horribly mauled, crumpled figure of local drifter Lonny Gasparilla-his thumb torn off and his hair pulled out by the roots. Gasparilla's dying breath names his attacker as the devil with the face of a child, and Agent Pendergast is immersed in another case rife with myth, the supernatural, and an over-the-top monstrous killer. The Preston-Child team scores another big winner, perfect for the summer; highly recommended for all popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/03.]-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Holmesian FBI Special Agent Pendergast returns, silver-eyed and cadaverous as ever, to take on a bizarre serial murder case in the cornfields of Kansas. Pendergast’s genius could easily be more gripping than his vehicles, but so faras with 1995’s Relicsuch has not been the case. Showing that two minds research more richly than one, Preston and Childs bring literary flair to opening pages that suggest we’re walking into a virtual-reality painting of Kansas cornfields at sunset with turkey vultures circling above something dead. A cow perhaps? So thinks Sheriff Dent Hazen as he plows through endless, towering rows of bio-enhanced corn. But he finds instead a partly scalped female body in ripped clothes set into a 30-foot circle where the corn has been cropped, her splayed form encircled by dead crows jammed onto upright Indian arrows. So artistic! State troopers arrive to help Hazen, but GPS shows that the corpse falls within Hazen’s jurisdiction at Medicine Creek, a town well on the way down, its farmhouses mainly abandoned (thanks to bioengineering) and even the workforce at the slaughterhouse cut to pieces. Out of the dawn arrives the spectral Pendergast, off-duty but attracted by the serial murderer. But there’s only one body, says the sheriff. Pendergast smiles, sort of. And indeed, soon a bloated dead dog, its tail ripped off, appears, to be followed by another body, scalped entirely: a slaughterhouse worker boiled, buttered, and sugared, the skin flopping off his corpse. Where could the killer have found a cauldron big enough to boil a corpse? And why? Pendergast hires a purple-haired teenager with a tongue ring to be his assistantand for the authors to put in perilwhen the monster at last shows up, all hairy and barefoot, in totally unexplored Kraus Kaverns, tunnels second in size only to the famed Carlsbad cave system, for a very long climax in varied avenues of darkness and bottomless pits. Yummy beach reading.
"Smart, skillful writers who have fun spinning their tall tale, and if you enjoy things-that-go-bump-in-the-night thrillers, you'll have fun reading it."Washington Post Book World
"From the first page, STILL LIFE WITH CROWS is creepy, disturbing, and altogether fascinating: Preston and Child at their best."Salem Statesman Journal (OR)
"Highly entertaining . . . a creepy, well-plotted novel . . . Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's trademark mix of mystery, suspense, horror, and history proves to be a combination that works."Milwaukee Journal Sentinel