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’.
“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.”
“Said in a suitably dramatic and wordy fashion.”
“Dark gods worshipped at pagan altars in moonlit glens.”
“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.”