Last week I finished reading Cemetery Dance, the ninth story in the Special Agent Pendergast series of books by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The events in this story take place in New York City.
Loosely following the events in The Wheel of Darkness, Cemetery Dance begins with one-year anniversary of the marriage between newspaper reporter William Smithback, Jr. and anthropologist Dr. Nora Kelly. When Nora steps out of their apartment for a moment to get an “anniversary surprise,” a neighbor, Colin Fearing, enters their apartment and uses a knife to brutally murder Bill.
It’s a horrific and bloody scene. When Nora returns a few minutes later, Colin attacks her as well. Her life is spared when her cries of help are heard by her neighbors. Colin flees the scene and escapes into the city.
The oddity is that Colin Fearing committed suicide two weeks ago. He’s supposed to be dead and buried in a graveyard.
The NYPD immediately begins to investigate the murder. NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta is examining the apartment when he discovers that FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is also examining the scene of the crime. He’s collecting blood samples and has noticed that the “dead” murderer made it a point to clean himself and his knife before departing the apartment. It’s also quickly discovered that at no point did Colin Fearing attempt to hide his face from his neighbors or the building’s security cameras. Read more…
A few weeks ago I finished reading The Wheel of Darkness, the eighth book in the Special Agent Pendergast series of books written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Following the events in The Book of the Dead, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast and his ward, Constance Greene, have made their way to western Tibet. Their destination is the remote Gsalrig Chongg monastery, a place so distant in the mountains that very few people know of its very existence. This is the same monastery where Pendergast received his training many years ago.
The two of them arrive at the monastery. At first the monks are reluctant to allow Constance inside to seek guidance and train in meditation because she’s a woman, but that changes when the leader of the monks sees Constance’s resemblance to Green Tara, allegedly the mother of all Buddhas. They accept her into the monastery and she begins her training.
While he’s in the monastery, Pendergast makes his way into a secretive inner monastery and learns of the Agozyen, an item so powerful that it can allegedly destroy the entire world. It’s been in the monks’ possession for hundreds of years. The problem is that it was recently stolen by a visitor. The monks ask Pendergast to track down the Agozyen and return it to the monastery. Read more…
Following the previous posting, another book that I read within the past year was The Book of the Dead, the next novel in the Special Agent Pendergast series of thrillers written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Set immediately after the events in Dance of Death, The Book of the Dead begins with a strange package arriving at the New York Museum of Natural History. The package contains not just ordinary dust (or anthrax as originally suspected), but rather the museum’s former diamond collection pulverized into grit. This was the work of Diogenes Pendergast.
The press quickly learns about the diamond dust, and the museum’s director needs to find a way to distract the public from this embarrassing moment. The answer quickly arrives in the form of a telegraph by a mysterious person named Comte Thierry de Cahors. In exchange for a donation of ten million euros, de Cahors wants the museum to renovate and reopen the Tomb of Senef, an old Egyptian exhibit that was part of the museum’s originally collection of exhibits. The director quickly agrees and anthropologist Dr. Nora Kelly is tasked with not only getting the old exhibit ready for the public in only six weeks, but making it a spectacular experience as well.
Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is being held in the Heckmoor Federal Correctional and Holding Facility until being sent to trial for the murder of FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Decker. He’s placed in solitary confinement and FBI Special Agent Spencer Coffey wants to make sure that Pendergast suffers, both physically and mentally. Coffey is also leading the charge to get Pendergast placed in a death penalty trial. Read more…
A while back (so long ago that I cannot remember) I read Dance of Death, the sixth book in the Special Agent Pendergast series of novels written by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The events in Dance of Death take place immediately after the previous book, Brimstone.
Set primarily in New York City, Dance of Death begins with a sudden and traumatic death of a college professor. One moment he’s well and lecturing to his students, and the next he’s violently ill and then dead, right there in front of his students.
Meanwhile, NYPD officer Vincent D’Agosta is one of many people dealing with the aftermath of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast‘s apparent death at the end of Brimstone. Vincent and fellow NYPD captain Laura Hayward are officially a couple and now living together.
Out of the blue, Vincent receives a note that instructs him to visit Pendergast’s mansion outside of the city. When he arrives there, Constance Green, Pendergast’s female companion and apprentice, gives him a note that Pendergast wrote shortly before he disappeared. In the note, Aloysius warns Vincent that his brother, Diogenes, is planning on committing a terrible crime on January 28 — about a week from that point in time. There’s no clue as to what Diogenes has planned, but Aloysius knows to take his estranged brother’s arrogant warning very seriously.
In order to attempt to stop Diogenes, Vincent takes a temporarily leave of absence from the NYPD. One of his first stops is to visit Pendergast’s great-aunt. The elderly lady tells Vincent about the early days of Aloysious and Diogenes, and that there was a turning point when Diogenes developed a deep hatred towards his brother. Read more…
Continuing with the cold theme in Stephen King’s The Shining, today we’re taking a look at Lincoln Child‘s Terminal Freeze, a thrilling novel set in the frigid Arctic.
First published on February 24, 2009, Terminal Freeze tells a tale of scientists discovering a terrifying creature frozen in ice in the Arctic. Their discovery leads to a television documentary crew arriving to film the process of thawing the prehistoric animal. When the ice melts quicker than expected, and the prehistoric creature turns out to be alive and well, Terminal Freeze becomes a monster book that pits scientists, a television crew, and a few soldiers against a menacing creature that is impervious to bullets and kills people with the greatest of ease.
Terminal Freeze takes place in Alaska at a fictional decommissioned military base north of the Arctic Circle.
Terminal Freeze begins north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska as a small team of scientists analyze a retreating glacier in hopes of studying the causes of global warming. Leader of the scientists is Evan Marshall, a paleoecologist; person who studies ecosystems of the past.
One day as the team of scientists is about to gather new samples uncovered by the retreating glacier, they notice that a large chunk of ice broke free from the glacier and revealed an ancient lava tube inside of a nearby mountain. They cautiously enter the frozen lava tube and quickly discover some sort of prehistoric creature buried in the ice. The scientists cannot see all of the creature, but they believe that it might be a Smilodon populator, a type of saber-toothed cat.
Considering the magnitude of their discovery, the scientists report their finding to their corporate sponsors, Terra Prime and Blackpool Entertainment. They quickly receive word to not touch the creature or enter the lava tube as a production team is being rushed to their location. The production team will recover the frozen creature, thaw it, and reveal the prehistoric animal as part of a grand documentary.
It sounds simple enough. Read more…
Recently I finished reading Thunderhead, a thriller written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Thunderhead is an independent book and not part of their main storyline involving FBI Special Agent Pendergast. However, two of the characters in this book can be found in the Pendergast series of books.
First published in 1998, Thunderhead takes readers into the wilderness of the American West, and history (and superstition and mythology) involving American Indians. When reading this book, you may be surprised to discover how little you know about the ancient history of the Native Americans.
Thunderhead begins in New Mexico as anthropologist Nora Kelly visits her childhood home and discovers a dated letter from her father in the family’s mailbox. The only problem is that Nora’s father vanished years ago when he was exploring the desert and searching for a fabled Native American city of Quivira, a hidden city that is allegedly made of gold. He disappeared when Nora was a young girl.
To make matters worse, when Nora is inside of her family’s abandoned home, she’s viciously attacked by two unknown creatures. They’re scared away when Nora’s neighbor, Teresa, makes an appearance, but she spots them again when she tries to drive away from the house. Before Teresa saved her, Nora heard one of the creatures mention that it wanted the letter.
After her frightening encounter at her family’s old home, Nora returns to her apartment in Santa Fe and analyzes her father’s old letter. The letter provides detailed notes about what seems like the lost Anasazi city of Quivira. The only problem is that her father was exploring southern Utah’s canyon country, a region with literally hundreds of winding canyons. She’s going to need more detailed information about her father’s path before she can hope to form an expedition to retrace his route. Read more…
Summertime is here for many school children, and a popular activity is going to amusement / theme parks, such as the Disney and Universal theme parks in central Florida.
Of course, heavy crowds, overbearing heat, and ridiculously high prices for food and beverages can make going to a theme park a rather hellish experience, and that’s without dealing with a small group of terrorists who will gladly kill everybody.
That’s basically the premise for Lincoln Child‘s thrilling novel, Utopia. At one of the most advanced and high-tech theme parks in the world, a small band of terrorists infiltrates the computer systems to cause “glitches,” and they also use explosives to add to the terror. It’s up to a computer specialist and his assistant to figure out what is happening and how to stop the terrorists before they kill everybody in the theme park.
Located in the deserts of Nevada, Utopia is one of the most high-tech theme parks in the world. The entire theme park is covered by a massive dome that protects people from the outside environment, as well as providing additional effects and theming to the park. Utopia is divided into four themed areas: Camelot (medieval Europe), Gaslight (Victorian England), Callisto (a moon of Jupiter), and the Boardwalk (a New England-style turn-of-the-century Boardwalk). A fifth land, Atlantis, is currently under construction and scheduled to open in several months.
A series of portals connect the various lands to the central area, the Nexus. The portals provide a gentle transition to allow for park guests to “decompress” and better adjust to the highly themed lands, enhancing their visit to Utopia.
The workers at Utopia use a series of underground levels to operate the park and see about its day-to-day business.
Utopia opens with a prologue where a family of four is riding Notting Hill Chase, a thrill ride / roller coaster located in Gaslight. Suddenly part of the ride breaks and the ride vehicle is thrown off the track, seriously injuring the riders. Fortunately, nobody is killed.
Two weeks later, Dr. Andrew Warne, a computer and robotics specialist who has done work for Utopia, arrives at Utopia in response to a request by the park’s management. He’s there to diagnose the system and try to determine why the computer programming led to a safety failure which caused serious injury to some riders. Tagging along with Andrew Warne is his young teenage daughter, Georgia Warne. Read more…
Genetic engineering is a fascinating area of science.
It can be used to enhance food products to increase size and shelf life. It can be used to modify organisms and create new species, such as GloFish. And some day, genetic engineering may even be used to modify or enhance human beings, removing “flaws” and other nuisances.
First published in 1996, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child‘s thrilling novel, Mount Dragon, takes an alternate look at genetic engineering and the future of the human race. The story takes place at a remote testing facility in the middle of a desert in New Mexico, about as isolated as you can get in the continental U.S. That’s for good reason, too. At the testing facility scientists are working with some of the deadliest diseases known to mankind and how to prevent them from spreading to humans.
Mount Dragon begins in New Mexico as Dr. Franklin Burt, a research scientist at GeneDyne, is rushed to a nearby hospital. He’s locked in an insane asylum for further testing. All seems well and it appears that the prestigious scientist just has a case of cabin fever until he viciously attacks the doctor examining him.
Across the country in New Jersey, Dr. Guy Carson is also a scientist who works at a different GeneDyne facility. He’s originally from New Mexico and dislikes living and working in Jersey. His boss is continually holding him back from any real projects. One day he’s asked to have a video conference with GeneDyne’s CEO, Brent Scopes. Scopes offers Carson a transfer to the Mount Dragon Remote Desert Testing Facility at the White Sands Missile Range in the desert of southern New Mexico. It’ll only be a six-month long assignment, but the pay will be tremendous. And he has to leave immediately.
Carson leaves New Jersey behind and heads back to New Mexico. He was born and raised in the desert, and he feels at home when arriving there.
Dr. John Singer, the director of Mount Dragon, greets Carson and gives him a tour of the facility. One of the first things noted is that security is extremely tight at Mount Dragon. The facility is heavily guarded as well as being located deep within the White Sands Missile Range, a restricted area of the desert. There is no paper allowed at Mount Dragon. All notes need to be taken on the computers. All of the workers also have to undergo a weekly medical exam, just to make sure that everybody stays healthy.
Singer also explains that Mount Dragon is also home to the only Level 5 containment lab. It’s buried underground, is self-contained, and has an incinerator that can be used to purge the facility should such an emergency ever occur. Located within the Level 5 lab is also a separate security station, a quarantine zone, and even the Zoo, a collection of chimpanzees used for testing. Read more…
Let’s face it, museums can be large and intimidating places.
Museums can also be a little bit scary, too, depending how you look at them. From large spaces to lifelike animal exhibits to somewhat dreadful items such as bones and spiders, an ordinary trip to a museum could actually be a stressful experience. Throw in the long shadows, loud air conditioning units, and the countless number of security cameras covering the exhibits, and there you go. It’s almost like we’re supposed to be afraid of the exhibits inside a museum.
And then there are the tourists. You know, those pesky people who are often loud, annoying, and they always find a way to stand in the way of your photos. Compared to them, dealing with a mysterious beast that supposedly shreds people and snacks on part of their brains is like a walk in a park.
What’s that? A museum beast that preys on innocent people?
That’s exactly the premise in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s thrilling novel, Relic.
Relic begins with a disastrous expedition deep into the Brazilian rain forest. The expedition, sponsored by the prestigious New York Museum of Natural History (also known as simply, The Museum), was to seek out an unknown tribe of people thought to have been extinct. We don’t learn much about the expedition to find the lost Kothoga tribe, but it ends with the presumed deaths of several scientists.
About five years later, almost all traces of the Brazilian expedition are locked away in secure areas. The New York Museum of Natural History is focusing on a new exhibition dealing with superstition. The new Superstition exhibition is big and expected to draw heavy crowds of New York’s elite class when it premiers at the end of the week.
For botany graduate student Margo Green, it’s just another day of work at the museum as she works on her research project. When she shows up for work on Monday morning, Margo, and the rest of the museum’s staff, is shocked by the heavy police presence. It turns out that two young boys were brutally murdered in the museum’s basement area the previous night. Not only were they murdered, but they were each decapitated with parts of their brains missing. The NYPD jumps into action and begins questioning all workers who had contact with that section of the museum.
NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta leads the investigation. Under request of the Museum’s director, D’Agosta allows for parts of the museum to remain open for both workers and visitors during the murder investigation. Read more…
Just recently I finished reading Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s thrilling novel, Riptide.
Note – Riptide is a standalone novel for Preston & Child, and this is not part of their famous Agent Pendergrass series.
Riptide is a story about treasure hunting. Specifically, it’s about hunting for a massive load of pirate treasure buried deep on an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine. The only problem is that the treasure is cursed and everybody who has tried to recover the treasure is either dead or financially ruined. It doesn’t help that the treasure is buried at the bottom of a devious structure nicknamed the “Water Pit,” and all previous attempts to dig around and through the Pit have failed.
Riptide beings with a fairly long summary of everybody who has tried to claim the treasure from 1790 all the way to 1946 when the island was purchased by the wealthy individual, Alfred Westgate Hatch, Sr. Two years later his obsession with the infamous Water Pit and the island’s hidden treasure had drained his wealth and made him declare bankruptcy. Not long after that he was dead, one of many direct and indirect victims of the curse of the pirate treasure at Ragged Island.
Fast forward to July of 1971.
Young Malin Hatch and his older brother, Johnny, are bored at home. While their parents are away, Johnny convinces his brother to go along on a trip to Ragged Island. After all, if they can find the lost pirate treasure, then they could help their parents’ financial problems. Malin is initially against the idea, but he goes along with his older brother’s plan. The two of them take a small powered boat and sail the six miles to the small, uninhabited island.
The young Hatch boys arrive at Ragged Island and land on its rocky shore. The island is literally littered with the remains of digging equipment and old barges and boats, victims from strong storms and financially bankrupt companies. They explore part of the island and find a small cave entrance. Johnny and Malin enter the small cavern, and they’re surprised to discover a small tunnel that leads deep underground. Using a bunch of matches, Johnny leads his younger brother into the tunnel.
The boys continue deeper and deeper into the tunnel. Just as they strike their last few matches, they reach what appears to be the end of the tunnel. It’s a small room with several smooth walls. There’s no treasure. The room goes pitch black as the last match burns out, and suddenly Johnny disappears from the room. Malin tries to find him, but he only discovers a small pool of Johnny’s blood. Malin is forced to find his way out of the cave, make his way back to shore, and tell his parents the news.
Fast forward to today (this was published in the late 1990s). Read more…
Last night I finished reading Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s science-fiction thriller, The Ice Limit.
The action and suspense continued building in the story until it reached this point where you just couldn’t put down the book. You’re forced to keep your eyes open as you continue turning the pages, trying to figure out what’s going to happen and which characters will survive in the end.
Such a first-class style of writing should be outlawed. People lose sleep when you’re forced to continue reading, trying to finish the book that night even if you have to sacrifice sleep time.
The Ice Limit is a story about a hunt for a meteorite that landed on an island on the southern tip of Chile near Cape Horn. Its location is in an unpopulated area home to some of the wildest weather both on land and out in sea. It’s a place where the brutality of nature constantly rules with an iron hand.
Set back in 2000, The Ice Limit begins with a meteorite hunter named Nestor Masangkay arriving on Isla Desolacion, an island off Chile’s southern coast near Cape Horn. Masangkay is on the hunt for a meteorite. He has the latest electronic equipment to aid him in his quest.
Sure enough, Masangkay analyzes the ground and finds what might be the impact point of the meteorite. He uses the equipment and locates the meteorite buried under the ground. Masangkay begins digging and soon reaches the rock from outer space. It’s bigger than he realized. Much bigger. The hunter has only uncovered a small portion of the meteorite. Excited for his incredible discovery, Masangkay reaches into the ground and touches his prize with his bare hand. The moment Masangkay touches the rock, he’s nearly vaporized in a blinding flash of light.
Fast forward a few months later.
Fellow meteorite hunter Sam McFarlane is out in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Sam has finally gained the trust of the local bushmen and he’s in the process of teaching them to use metal detectors. The bushmen know the lay of the land, and Sam needs their help to try to find a meteorite that crashed in the desert eons ago.
Just as the bushmen are about to set off on the hunt, a helicopter arrives out of nowhere, sending the bushmen running for cover. Its passenger is Palmer Lloyd, a billionaire, collector of rare artifacts, and wannabe adventurer. Palmer needs Sam’s help for a sudden project, and as part of the fee for his assistance he’ll take care of Sam’s $250,000 debt that he owes to people. In addition to that he’ll pay him a rather generous sum of money. Read more…
Primarily set in New York City, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child‘s thrilling novel Brimstone continues the action in their Agent Pendergast series of books.
While Brimstone was published after Still Life with Crows, virtually nothing from that book has an influence on Brimstone. Most of the previous references are from The Cabinet of Curiosities along with Reliquary.
It’s an ordinary day in Southampton, New York until Jeremy Grove, one of the community’s wealthy residents, is found dead inside of his mansion. His death is a bit of a puzzle though as the home was locked tight with the intricate burglar alarms still armed, nothing of value was noted as missing, and Grove’s corpse was burned to a crisp — without burning the rest of the room or his house.
To make matters even more interesting, in the air is the smell of sulfur. Burned onto the wooden floor by Grove’s body is a hoofprint. Who, or what for that matter, killed Jeremy Grove?
Sergeant Vincent D’Agosta is one of the police officers on the scene when FBI Special Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast makes an appearance at the crime scene. Grove’s home is located on a beach, and it’s believed that the criminal crossed the water into neighboring New Jersey, so that makes it a federal crime and allows FBI Special Agent Pendergast onto the crime scene to help with the investigation.
The investigation begins and Pendergast and D’Agosta learn that Jeremy Grove was hosting a party just the previous night, and some of his guests were people that he had not spoken to for years. It appears that Grove knew that something bad was going to happen to him, and he was trying to make amends and correct past mistakes that he made with people, as if it would help clear his conscious.
One of the suspects is a man named Nigel Cutforth.
Like Jeremy Grove, Nigel Cutforth is also a wealthy person. He owns a deluxe apartment that doubles as a recording studio for musicians. Before his interview with Sergeant D’Agosta, Cutforth and his wife notice the smell of sulfur in the air. D’Agosta later interviews the man, and he catches him in a lie. It’s implied that Cutforth knows more than he’s willing to admit to the police. Perhaps telling the truth about his relationship with Grove would make him a better suspect in his murder.
However, before Cutforth can be further interviewed, his body is found by the apartment complex’s maintenance crew. Cutforth suffers the same death as Jeremy Grove. His body is nearly incinerated while the rest of the apartment is virtually untouched by the apparent fire.
Could Jeremy Grove and Nigel Cutforth’s deaths be that of spontaneous human combustion (SHC)? One case of SHC is incredibly rare. Two cases of it with both of the victims knowing each other sounds just a bit too suspicious. Read more…
In this day and age, most single people have tried a matchmaking company at one point in their life.
Internet-based matchmaking companies have been popular since the late 1990s. Most of them have you answer a basic set of questions about yourself and your “perfect” mate, and then it uses basic software to attempt to find a match for you. It’s simple, it might work for you, and for many people, it’s rather boring. You’ll be browsing through the results pages and wondering if any of the people are right for you. You’ll also wonder if the people in your results actually have any interest.
In the end it’s the same old song and dance for many matchmaking companies. But what if a company used a significantly more complicated system of matching people? Would you be willing to pay $25,000 for the guaranteed result of lifelong happiness with somebody matched perfectly with you?
That’s part of the concept in Lincoln Child’s thrilling novel, Death Match. In Death Match such a company exists. It’s called Eden, Inc., and it produces results well worth the extravagant fee. The biggest problem for most customers is the lengthy examination process, which involves a complete physical and psychological review. The company wants to make sure that its clients are both physically and mentally sound, and they’ll live long and flourish in their new relationship.
Most of the couples matched by Eden, Inc., are between 90-97% compatible. It’s a very rigorous matching program, and if you can hit the mid to upper nineties, then you’re doing great. In the history of the company, six couples have been matched 100%. Nicknamed “supercouples,” these people have scored perfectly in compatibility. It’s as if they were literally made for each other. Whenever people talk about those supercouples, the comments are always the same: The couples are perfectly happy with each other.
So when a supercouple is found dead from an apparent double-suicide, Eden, Inc. is incredibly worried. Could there possibly be a flaw in its seemingly perfect matching program? How could such a happy couple die in a tragic manner? If word spreads about there being a problem in Eden, Inc., the company would be financially ruined.
Dr. Christopher Lash is hired by Edwin Mauchly, the director of Eden, Inc., to solve the mystery of the double-suicide. Lash is a private investigator who used to work in the Behavioral Science Unit in the FBI. When it comes to analyzing the evidence and profiling a potential killer, Dr. Lash is one of the best people in the nation. He accepts his payment of $100,000 and begins investigating the death of the supercouple. Read more…
Small Town, America can be a frightening place if you look at it certain ways, especially if it’s located in the Great Plains.
When you consider the remoteness of some towns, the hundreds of square miles of corn fields, and a place where neighbors sometimes know a little bit too much about their fellow neighbors, and there you go. A perfect small town for one person can be a complete nightmare for another. Especially when a madman begins murdering random people and butchering their remains, leaving them in puzzling scenarios.
The murdering madman in a small town in Kansas is the basic plot for Still Life with Crows, the fourth book written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child to feature their common protagonist, FBI Special Agent Pedergast. This is a horror story set in the heart of the country and features a murderer so bizarre that he does not fit the profile of serial killers. His behavior is unpredictable at best, brutally terrifying at worst.
Still Life with Crows begins with a bizarre murder victim discovered out in a corn field in the town of Medicine Creek, Kansas. Sheriff Dent Hanzen uses the circling turkey vultures to help locate the corpse. Hanzen is hoping that the corpse is technically outside of his town’s district, leaving the crime scene to the Kansas State Patrol, but he’s not so fortunate. Besides, he’s annoyed when watching the troopers screw up evidence, miss clues, and leave enough room for technicalities for the worst of lawyers to keep the criminal out of prison. Sheriff Hanzen may be lazy, especially in the heat of the summer, but he also hates letting criminals go free.
Perhaps even more bizarre than the murder is the sudden arrival of FBI Special Agent Pendergast. He was informed of the murder through his contacts in the police and FBI networks, and the special agent arrives on scene to conduct an investigation even though he’s well outside of his home district of New Orleans, Louisiana. The technicality is that FBI Special Agent Pendergast simply claims that he’s “on vacation” and the murder investigation is one of his hobbies. He never states why he has so much interest in this particular murder victim.
The murder victim, Sheila Swagg, is found lying naked in a clearing. Her neck is broken, her limbs are positioned in a strange posture, and several dead crows are impaled into the ground surrounding Miss Swagg. It turns out that the crows were killed with a set of arrows that once belonged to the Cheyenne Indians from the 1800s. The arrows are in mint condition and worth a considerable amount of money to the right collector. Why they were used in such a ritual is a mystery in itself.
So far the only clue to the killer’s identity is a set of bare feet footprints that leads through the corn field and right to a small creek. Despite that, Pendergast speculates that the killer is somebody who lives within the city limits of Medicine Creek. This is a small town, and if anybody walks, rides or drives into the town, then somebody would have seen the outsider. None of the residents have reported any strangers in town, except for FBI Special Agent Pendergast, so the killer is hiding amongst the dwindling population in the small town. Read more…
Back in 1995, authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child presented the literary world with Relic, a thrilling story that placed a killer creature in the depths of the prestigious New York Museum of Natural History.
The sinister Museum Beast killed over forty people and wounded twice that many during a short span inside the museum. Relic introduced us to Margo Green, a graduate student who worked in the anthropology department; William “Bill” Smithback, Jr., a nosy newspaper reporter; Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI; NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta; and Dr. Frock, Margo’s advisor and director of that part of the museum.
As we know, those characters survived their horrific encounter of the Museum Beast. The beast is ultimately killed at the end of Relic, but information at the end of the story leads us to believe that there’s still much more to the origins of the creature and its impact on the city of New York.
Reliquary begins several years after the events of Relic. By now Margo Green has earned her doctorate degree and continues working with the Museum. Dr. Frock has since retired, and Pendergast, Smithback and D’Agosta continue working for their respective employers.
The story begins as NYPD officer Snow is making his first dive as a new diver for the NYPD. Lieutenant D’Agosta is on the boat when Snow and two other policemen dive into the murky waters in search of a stash of cocaine that was tossed into the water after a recent police chase. Instead of finding the drugs, the rookie diver stumbles upon two human skeletons, both of them missing their skulls. The skeletons are hauled on board the boats and later taken to the morgue for further analysis.
At the morgue, personal item on one of the skeletons identifies the remains as those belonging to Pamela Wisher, a young lady who recently disappeared. Bill Smithback caught wind of the story about the young socialite’s remains being found in sewage, and his newspaper article caught the attention of Pamela’s mother, Anette Wisher. She agrees to meet with Smithback and give him information as long as he prints more honest stories about her daughter, shying away from her night life and focusing on her schooling and numerous accounts of good deeds. Smithback agrees and Mrs. Wisher informs him of her plan of creating flash mobs and putting pressure on the police department to help clean up the city.
Meanwhile, the doctor at the morgue notices strange markings on both of the skeleton remains, and Lieutenant D’Agosta sends the skeletons to the New York Museum of Natural History for further analysis. He requests that Dr. Margo Green be part of the scientists analyzing the bones.
Sure enough, there are strange markings on the bones. They almost look like puncture wounds, but further testing needs to take place before a final decision can be made. Smithback tries to push Margo for more information, especially when the markings on the remains and missing heads sounds more and more like the Museum Beast’s method of killing. But the Mbwun was killed years ago and its remains were destroyed. Read more…
It’s an ordinary day in New York City when a demolition crew begins destroying an old building dating back to the 1800s.
The demolition process is suddenly halted when the work crew accidentally exposes a hidden chamber underneath the building. One of the workers climbs into the dusty and decayed world and discovers piles of human bones.
Over at the prestigious New York Museum of Natural History (the same museum from Relic), archaeologist Dr. Nora Kelly is fighting a losing battle with her boss, Roger C. Brisbane III, the Museum’s first Vice Director, over funding for her research projects. Devastated that her budget has been cut, Dr. Kelly returns to her office only to find FBI Special Agent Pendergast waiting for her arrival.
Special Agent Pendergast quickly recruits Dr. Kelly to travel with him to the construction site and help examine the human bones. At the ancient crime scene, Pendergast is able to distract the police officers and buy Dr. Kelly some time to enter and evaluate the hidden chamber. The police are curious as to why the FBI would be interested in a 130+ year old crime scene, but they accept his presence and allow Dr. Kelly to investigate the area.
Inside the chamber are the skeleton remains of not one or two but thirty-six people. Dr. Kelly discovers that all of the human skeletons are missing part of their spine. To add to the mystery, it appeared as if some of the backbones were precisely cut with surgical precision. The archaeologist notices an article of clothing, and she quickly removes a piece of paper attached to the clothes. Dr. Kelly pockets the evidence before the chief of police has Dr. Kelly and Pendergast removed from the crime scene.
The owner of the building being destroyed, Anthony Fairhaven, a wealthy property developer, doesn’t want an archaeological expedition to slow the process of his demolition and construction of a new structure. He has the medical examiner remove the human remains and give them a proper burial somewhere outside of the city. With the remains out of the way, he has the demolition team continue destroying the old building and thus destroying the old crime scene. Fairhaven has deep pockets and many high level connections, so the police allow the property developer to continue with his work.
Dr. Kelly examines the paper she removed from the crime scene and finds the name “Mary Greene” along with an age and address. The compelling part is that the information was written in the woman’s blood. Mary Greene knew that she was going to die in that building’s basement, and she didn’t want to be left as an anonymous victim of a serial killer.
Dr. Kelly’s boyfriend, journalist William Smithback, meets with her and Pendergast, and he takes the information and publishes a newspaper article about the ancient crime scene. He includes details about how the victims had part of their spines. Smithback intends on using the article to put pressure on the Museum and have them give Dr. Kelly a larger budget, but the article only infuriates Roger Brisbane. Read more…