epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

  • Music:

Book Reviews: Relic + Nightcrawlers + My Friend's Exorcisim + Excavation + Sandstorm

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The 1st in the ‘Agent Pendergast’ series. This sees a beast loose in the New York natural history museum. Pendergast is the ace FBI agent who shows up to help. In later books he became foul and obnoxious. D’Agosta is the NYPD cop investigating mysterious deaths in the museum and he is particularly vocal in his working classness, he meets and befriends Pendergast as they hunt the beast. Their friendship and intense bromance is wonderful until the authors wrecked both circa ‘Cold Vengeance/Two Graves’ and more or less wrote D’Agosta out of the series. At least in this excellent book, D’Agosta has a positive attachment to Pendergast.

There are obstructive bureaucrats, a beast attack on a party and a fight for survival. This was good and the series continued in ‘Reliquary’ (dumb direct sequel), ‘The Cabinet Of Curiosities’ (immortal serial killer, no D’Agosta), ‘Still Life With Crows’ (ridiculous serial killer, no D’Agosta), ‘Brimstone’ (Pendergast and D’Agosta go to Italy for an oddly unprofound adventure), ‘Dance of Death’ (Pendergast’s evil brother tries to kill everyone he cares about and frame him for the murders, oddly D’Agosta isn’t targeted. There is no emotional identification), ‘The Book of The Dead’ (Constance takes over, dumb), ‘The Wheel Of Darkness' (more Constance), ‘Cemetery Dance’, ‘Fever Dream’ (D’Agosta in peril, Pendergast does not react), ‘Cold Vengeance’ (Pendergast’s stress induced behaviour does not allow him to self regulate), ‘Two Graves’ (Pendergast treats D’Agosta maliciously, they never recovered from this), ‘White Fire’ (Corrie prances), ‘Blue Labyrinth’ (Pendergast in peril, nobody cares), ‘Crimson Shore' (more Constance) and the upcoming ‘Obsidian Chamber’ (D’Agosta free, I don’t care).

Pendergast is from the south but talks like he is English. This was fun, impressive and written in cheerful jaunty prose. Coffey the crazed FBI agent who is capable of really bad things lurks. The creature has horrible deliberation and there is a neat twist D’Agosta is described as a fat, balding chainsmoker who doesn’t look like Tom Sizemore who played him in the 1996 flop movie. That changed in later books. This was dated with mentions of typewriters, diskettes, dated computers, master tapes, CRTs, nobody has a mobile phones, there are rotary dial phones, pagers, a card catalogue, a microcassette recorder and a mention of ‘Donahue’. There are hints at future books like ‘Riptide’ and ‘Fever Dream’. This was published in 1995 and if the books take place in real time shouldn’t Pendergast and D’Agosta be retirement age? The authors are obviously terrified of the Pendergast/D’Agosta hoyay, which is why they more or less wrote D’Agosta out and replaced him with their mary sue Constance. This book has a happy ending which was overwritten by follow-ups.

In ‘Fever Dream’, D’Agosta is stated to be 44 and not yet 20 years in the NYPD but in this book he’s clearly older than that and states he has been in the force 22 years. ‘Fever Dream’ came out in 2010 and said Pendergast’s wife Helen died 12 years ago in 1998. Yet ‘Relic’ takes place in 1995 and Helen is already dead. Pendergast is mentioned as being a Vietnam vet which is impossible as they seem to be de-aged in later books. These temporal shenanigans make D’Agosta’s ignored bleeding injury and shrugged off hypothermia pale into insignificance. There is apparently going to be a TV show based on these books called ‘Pendergast’.

Best Lines:
“There’s no regulation for firing at a noise!”

“I will note that gratuitous insult in my report.”

“I think D’Agosta shot it.”

“Got their guts hung up like birthday ribbons in there. And it’s Pendergast’s fault and D’Agosta’s fault.”

“Too long dead to be recognizable.”

“Not unless you’ve got a 7-Up chaser,” D’Agosta said. Pendergast blanched and looked in his direction.”

“Suspected there was something prowling the museum.”

“Put that in your pocket, if you please.”

Nightcrawlers by Tim Curran
A rotting town hides a secret, but it is not what you think. This was okay with an interesting twist. WTF is swimmers itch?

Best Lines:
“If there are no monsters, why do you leave things for them? Why do you put out scraps as offerings every night? Why do you feed them if they don’t exist?”

“Said in a suitably dramatic and wordy fashion.”

“Dark gods worshipped at pagan altars in moonlit glens.”

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
From the author of the inept ‘Horrorstor’ comes this far superior horror tale about 2 teen girls in 1988. This was good and sees two best friends torn apart when one becomes possessed by a demon. Her BFF values principles over consequences as gratuitously caricatured useless adults are obsessed with the satanic panic and are great big fat lumps of human uselessness. This is a tale of the 80s, evil beliefs, friendship, rural eccentrics and all that goes wrong being falsely attributed to satanic panic. WTF is a cassingle?

Best Lines:
“Having a total stranger choose you, someone who wanted to know you, another person who cared that you were alive.”

“My Sweet Audrina, with its endless parade of sexual prevision.”

“Wasting food is no joke!...That’s how Karen Carpenter died.”

“Laughter was lethal when you were being told something For Your Own Good.”

“A needlessly negative view of the situation.”

“If you didn’t know what that meant, then you didn’t belong at Albemarle.”

“When you’re crying in my office ashamed after you’ve thrown your treasure in the gutter and you shamed your family, and your school.”

“A grand marquis of hell and commander of thirty legions of demons, known as the sower of discord and ringer of ruin. I need to protein-load.”

Excavation by James Rollins
A ridiculous 2000 novel about a mummy and secrets in the Andes.

Sandstorm by James Rollins
This 2001 novel is dumb and god-awful.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review

Comments for this post were disabled by the author