Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast #3)
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
What a wonderful book! I’m fairly new to Peston & Child and this is my first Pendergast novel, and I was delighted to experience something a little different.
Cabinet of Curiosities is named after the old freakish collections people used to have before the days of big, fancy museums. They were places where people stored both real scientific objects of note, as well as a great many fakes and sensationalist items, like two-headed babies and alleged historical artifacts. The book itself is written very much in the vein of its subject matter with extensive description of such morbid and fassinating curiosities. Great fun!
The story is a mystery. When a long-buried charnal house is uncovered in NYC with 36 bodies, Agent Pendergast mysteriously arrives to investigate, in a manner rather unofficial. An archeologist, a reporter and a policeman are recruited to help and they combine forces to discover everything they can about the man behind these grissly murders and – his quest to prolong human life. That quest becomes vital when a series of brand new murders with the same MO begin happening around the city.
There are some neat twists and turns and the the authors do a marvelous job of teasing the suspense out of some of the tense moments, when killers are lurking in the shadows or chasing victims. There are also a couple of laugh-out-loud moments that give the book a good change of pace from thrills to laughs to horror.
The characters were not at all as I expected. Too many novels today sport characters which are disgustingly perfect, ace-shots, brilliant, handsome, perfect at everything they do, the best investigators and the best fighters. Everyone wants to be Bond. They’re completely unrealistic and rather tiresome after a while. While Pendergast himself is a brilliant mind, he is definitely quirky. Nora, the archeologist was quite realistic, a strong female type. The reporter is both great at his job and a total flop in other ways; quite amusing. But not as funny as the captain of the police, who’s a hilariously bumbling idiot and it was a riot to watch him work.
It’s a great book, something with depth and intricasy, well written and fun. Especially if you’re a fan of the 19th century and Halloween-type grusesome fare. Those Cabinets of Curiosities are halfway museum, halfway witch’s house full of eye of newt and other weird things. I’d love to visit and I’m glad this book gave me a glimpse into that bizarre world. I’m excited to read the other Pendergast novels and more from Preston & Child.