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First time I have felt myself thinking, shall l continue with these books, my efforts were not rewarded a all this time. 500 pages to tell this story, was far to long. It just wasn't polished, lots of small timing mistakes that jarred, or you just end up skipping & scanning through pages of needless words. A whole character was introduced and there was no need. A task was also taken on with no need, both points could, and should have been dealt with differently. I will never get those few hours back now.
As for the ending... Amazon can l get £2.50 back, l think that is fair.
I am sort of teetering between three and four stars for this review, because it's more than just OK, but it's my least favorite of the series. The story is good and Pengergast is as great as usual, so I cannot pinpoint the reason I wasn't pulled into this story as much as the others. Maybe it's because I am a fan of Smithback (not really a spoiler alert - he bites it right at the beginning.) It also might be because I read most of the series back-to back (though not in order - I already read Wheel of Darkness and Fever Dream) - and maybe by that time everything was getting a little old.
Still, it's a good read. My personal fav - The Cabinet of Curiosities.
I liked this book, but not as much as the previous books in the series. The story is entertaining and continues to follow the familiar characters, but this book has an annoying inclusion of obscure words that have been peppered in in places where they are only vaguely appropriate. I found myself wondering if there had been a change in editor...or if one of the authors had been gifted a new thesaurus or word of the day calendar that they were really putting into action. For me it was an annoying distraction.
I am a big fan of the Pendergast novels. Special Agent Pendergast is one of the more interesting characters to populate the suspense world, sort of an elegant,otherworldly McGyver.
This books opens with the brutal murder of reporter William Smithback and the attack of his wife Nora by a neighbor. There are eyewitnesses galore who identify the neighbor as the perpetrator. Only problem is the neighbor supposedly died two weeks earlier. As the body count rises and the city is on edge, Vincent D'Agosta of the NYPD is joined by Pendergast on an investigation that involves rabid animal activists, a corrupt computer programmer, a secretive cult, a retired Hollywood director along with the usual mob scenes, monsters, police incompetence and politics.
The major flaw in the novel is that it focuses on Vincent D'Agosta. He bumbles his way through the novel being frustrated and angry and oftentimes whiny. He is okay as a sidekick but is not strong enough to carry a novel by himself. Also Nora is reduced to the role of hysterical victim. The ultimate resolution is a bit convoluted but on he other hand it is fiction.
I agree wholeheartedly with the other reviewers who complain that this novel is not up to the authors usual standards. However, it still is entrtaining and worth a read.
All I can say about this is that at the end, I wasn't sure if I was reading a Scooby-Doo show made into a novel. It had all the elements of a Scooby-Doo show. There's a mystery that only the team can solve. Check. Villian that you don't know if they are more than what they are? Check. Entire mystery about greed. Check. You get the idea. Here, the novel centers around the death of a repeating character from many of the writers other books. In this case, it's up to Vincent D'Augusta to solve the murder along with Pendergrast.
I will say at least if this is a cliche novel, it is certainly entertaining. I was on an airplane and was amused. I think the ending and the overall plot needed a lot more help. Basically, if the last 10 pages are devoted to telling you who did what and unraveling the plot threads... I'm not sure that it's the greatest of all stories. The zombii thing going on here is interesting up to a point. The writers have tackled more difficult murders and mystery with more vim.
It was OK, but I was hoping to be scared and surprised more. The demise of the main bad guy was a bit contrived. I think this is because the authors didn't say that much about his state of mind. We weren't given too much insight other than to say this character was basically driven by greed in the form making some serious money though a forced real estate deal. Also, there was another interesting character that didn't get to much attention, Kline. Was he a red herring? I thought he was a better bad guy than Esteban, because he cocky and had a nastier and more spiteful state of mind. Couldn't the authors have at least made him an acolyte of Esteban? Hope my favorite authors are not falling into a formula with their writing. I've enjoyed the Pendergast novels up to this point and I enjoyed this one, but it could have been better.
Usually when we hold a Preston/Child book featuring Agent A. Pendergast, chances are we will be entertained more than imagination could hint. Even the few pages when he was introduced to us in Relic, we could tell what a wonderful character Pendergast is. He is not only a federal agent, he is a master of many philosophies, and religions. There is little he doesn't know and who he can find to help him in his latest quest. In Cemetery Dance, we find that NY Times Reporter, and friend of Lt. D'Agosta and Pendergast, William Smithback, Jr. is horridly murdered - approximately one year after their latest adventure. There were witnesses to the murderer - the bad news is - the 'murderer' died ten days before he murdered Smithback. oops. Well, Pendergast finds evidence that voodoo is being used to establish zombies out of newly dead folks. When Smithback himself supposedly murders another reporter at a large gathering, Pendergast calls in his expert from New Orleans. But the expert fails miserably - something is wrong, and he is taken home to New Orleans in a frightened state, and the 'expert's expertise' was bogus. So what can stop this supposed voodoo and zombie creation in a large area in New York where animal torture and sacrifice happens and seems to be ground zero to voodooland? D'Agosta and Pendergast work it out, but it is not beyond the paranormal as Pendergast's adventures seem. It neither has the wit nor wisdom that classic Pendergast has. And that to me was a great disappointment. After such adventures where Pendergast's ward Constance tells him she's pregnant with Diogenes' child, and that child is destined to be someone who changes the world, they play with a plot that doesn't advance the lives of Pendergast and co (aside from poor Smithback and his widow). I did not find this book exciting, and was hoping for major paranormal activities to work their Pendergast magic. But it didn't. Any Pendergast book is better than none, but aside from the revelation that Pendergast is slowly buying up other's apartments at the Dakota as they come available; therefore remodeling his living quarters and making places of power and meditation, little moves forward.
After last year's mediocre "Wheel of Darkness", the only slightly improved "Cemetery Dance" makes one wonder if the Preston/Child team is running out of fresh material, and if the enigmatic Special Agent Pendergast shouldn't consider returning to the FBI to actually work on one of their cases for a change.
This ninth installment of the Pendergast series, starting with the classic "Relic", gets out of the blocks fast enough with the brutal and somewhat surprising murder of New York Times reporter Bill Smithback, a stalwart of the series. In a novel twist, all indications point to Colin Fearing as the perp, but there is a major problem: Fearing died and was buried nearly two weeks before Smithback's tragic demise. So with themes of Voodoo and Santeria mixing with possible Zombie sightings, and mercifully no sightings of the annoying Constance Green who nearly single-handedly sunk "Wheel of Darkness", this one was shaping up to be a classic Preston/Childs escapist yarn of loose science and tight thrills. But by about the mid-point, the action starting slowing under what felt like the weight of a bored cast - Nora Kelly's pining for Bill and Lieutenant D'Agosta moping around under the nagging of pretty much the rest of the players did a pretty good job of sucking a lot of energy from the score. It was almost to the point of having to remember that the bored and listless main characters actually weren't the shambling dead. But most apparent was a subdued and sub-par performance from Pendergast, showing only brief glimpses of the aplomb and panache that have made him such a unique and mysterious protagonist of pop fiction. Pendergast, like the authors, seemed to be going through the motions on this one, mostly muddling through an otherwise interesting storyline including a fascinating - if fictional - community in the very real primeval woods of northern Manhattan's Inman Hill Park.
But don't get me wrong - this is certainly not this talented pair's worst effort, it definitely has its moments, and the sights and scenes of Manhattan are as usual spot on. But in the end, the uninspired characters and uneven pacing take a couple of stars away from some decent summer entertainment that could have gone further.