226 of 237 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
After pre-ordering the book on kindle, I read the book in one sitting. I must say that Preston-Child are showing some love back to Prendergast series after the last couple of mis-haps ( yes, wheel of darkness quite ruined the series for me ). This book gets basic elements right and tells a compelling story set in the heart of American south.
In my humble opinion, there are three sets of Pendergast series. The first three belong to the great series, namely, Relic, Reliquary and Cabinet of curiosities. The second set is the "Diogenes" series ( Brimstone, Dance of death and Book of the dead ), which are quite good reads, but could get repetitive. The third set is purely commercial breaks between solo projects of each authors ( Still life..,Wheel of darkness and recent Cemetery dance ).
This book signals the return to form for the authors. Recurring characters are kept to a minimum and story is fast paced with thriller elements. Sherlockian style is quite visible here more than any other novels. Also the books seems to leave quite loose ends of the story for continuation in another book, but is not quite unwelcome. We would love another great story by the authors.
One nagging doubt for me is if the authors are getting themselves into a corner with Pendergast. Since the last 4-5 books dealt with similar theme around Pendergast's family, the series is getting quite contrite. A change of scenery may be good. Also, the pre-climax action sequence of the book is vaguely familiar to a recent book by one of the authors and if you were reading them back to back, similarities are hard to mess ( leverage the research, is not a bad idea, but might have been too soon ! ).
In summary, Fever Dream is quite worth the wait and signals a renewed comeback for our favorite FBI agent and loyal lieutenant. Go for it !
87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
"Fever Dream" is the 10th suspense thriller from Preston and Child built around Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. Trust me when I say it is a return to form for the authors and for our favorite enigmatic Holmesian sleuth. This series was great from its inception with "Relic", "Reliquary" and "Cabinet Of Curiosities" until it began to slide into complacency, supernaturalness, and predictability. Even worse was the seeming decline of Pendergast's intuitive skills compunded by his sometimes long absences from subsequent books while his NYPD ally, Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, carried much of the load.
"Fever Dream" remarkably returns all focus on Agent Pendergast, fine tunes his logical, eccentric, and brilliant crime solving talent, and makes him more human and emotional than ever before in the series. Twelve years earlier, Pendergast and his wife, Helen Esterhazy Pendergast, had been hunting in Zambia, Africa when she was tragically devoured by a ferocious man-eating lion. A chance discovery 12 years later leads Pendergast to the certainty that his wife was murdered by an elaborately staged accident.
He enlists the aid of his old friend, Lt. Vinnie D'Agosta, to assist him in following the cold trail in an effort to find Helen's murderers. Of course, this time the investigation is personal and Pendergast reveals his emotional side as he fights to control his anger and his baser instincts for abject vengeance. He is also forced to rely more on his allies for assistance and perspective because some of his cool resolve has, understandably, melted. Captain Hayward, D'Agosta's love, also joins the hunt as the level of violence and suspense ratchets up several notches.
Pendergast has to reexamine all that he knew--and did not know---about his wife in order to make headway. He discovers so many mysteries and dead ends that cause him to reevaluate his whole experience with Helen. Who was she really? What was her fascination with John James Audubon and his missing masterpiece, The Black Frame? How was she able to hide her secretive life from him while they were married? Who from his past can he trust?
Despite some worldwide travel, most of the action occurs in the deep South where Preston and Child create a believable, right-on scene of distrusting rednecks and duplicitous white collars. The taciturn Pendergast employs his brilliant problem solving skills to great effect as he continues to see clues where others see nothing. He is much more emotional, edgy, and violent than usual which adds to the intrigue of this fine character. If you enjoyed the Pendergast of old and have become somewhat jaded by the recent Pendergast efforts, do yourself a favor and grab this one and rediscover the magnetism of this wonderfully developed character.
My only quibble regards the reappearance of Constance Greene, Pendergast's ward, who again is a distraction from the main storyline. The Constance Greene storyline has become laborious and distracting over time, yet I assume that there will be a major payoff in some future novel to compensate us for her whiny, unstable, distraction. Despite that minor concern, this is a great addition to the Pendergast legacy. He is "on-screen" almost the whole book, we see his fantastic talents in great detail, yet we also see a more vulnerable, human side to the character we grew to love so long ago. A highly recommended read.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Fever Dream is fast-paced, fairly entertaining, and will satisfy most of the avid Pendergast fans out there longing for their Aloysius fix. At the same time, it's not a very good novel. Let me be clear - I have enjoyed the Preston/Child novels, to various degrees, since Relic, and I am as intrigued by the enigmatic Special Agent as most readers out there. Over the years, however, Pendergast has grown less interesting and more . . . well, more predictable. I sometimes find myself speaking his lines in my head before I read them. He doesn't surprise me anymore. He has become a caricature of himself, which is disappointing.
Preston and Child have succumbed to two of the most egregious failings of recent popular fiction. First, Fever Dream has a plethora of mini-chapters (many are 2-3 pages in length), which work to push the plot forward but allow no time for character development or depth. This leads to the second failing - the novel is nothing more than its fairly absurd plot. I'm as willing as most to suspend my disbelief as mutated scientists wreak havoc on musty museums or crazed lunatics plot dastardly deeds against family members. But to make those stories work, we have to really care about the characters, the settings, and the world Preston/Child have so beautifully created. In Fever Dream, we get a bunch of the expected characters (Pendergast, D'Agosta, Laura Haywood) acting pretty much as we expect them to act. The central plot, however - about Pendergast's hunt for the people who murdered his wife twelve years earlier - doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it yet, but the "murder weapon" is patently absurd, as are the motives of the "bad guy" (whose identity I guessed the moment he was introduced, even though Pendergast, D'Agosta, and Haywood never seemed to get it, even in the end).
Which brings me to a third failing - Fever Dream is written as the first in another series of novels, meaning there IS no ending. I have nothing against sequels, but it does bother me when writers work harder to sucker a reader into their next book than they do making the current one worth reading. Relic worked on its own; Reliquary was a good sequel, but it wasn't NECESSARY to buy Reliquary to understand and enjoy Relic. If you want to know what happens at the end of Fever Dream, you'll have to buy the next book in the series (and maybe the next TWO books, if Preston/Child follow their established pattern). That's a cop-out, and it's a lazy cop-out.
I see that Preston/Child are beginning a new series of books with a new investigator (Gideon Crew, who they describe as "uncommon," meaning he'll be intriguing and enigmatic and probably very eccentric). I think they, as much as any of us, realize that their Pendergast novels can't go on forever. I only wish they would spend a bit more time writing good stories and a bit less time setting up their marketing plan. Their earlier work (Relic, Reliquary, Riptide, Thunderhead) remains their best. Fever Dream, while not bad for a beach read, is pretty much just fluff with some familiar names.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
I'm glad to see that the Agent Pendergast books seem to be getting back on track. This was another enjoyable story in the series. I loved that we get to see more of Pendergast's past and it was kind of strange to think of him as being married at some point. I wish we could have seen more of the interaction between he and his wife but it still gave him a more human side as he tried to figure out why his wife was murdered. I'm glad that D'Agosta also played a large part in this story as it's always fun to see the contrast between Pendergast's and D'Agosta's methods. Then in the end we also see D'Agosta's girlfriend Captain Hayward get involved which is an even greater contrast. There are some great confrontations going on through out the book that made me laugh.
The only part I did not like is that there is a small side story regarding Pendergast's ward, Constance. I never really enjoyed that story line and it did not really fit at all in this story so I just found it irritating. Still this is another great book for all you Agent Pendergast lovers out there!
As a little bonus the authors mention a new character they are introducing in their next book. While I'm excited to see how this new character turns out the end of Fever Dream leaves you hanging a bit and I really cannot wait to find out what happens next.
If you want to learn more about Agent Pendergast, the Fever Dream tour and more check out the newly launched [...].
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2010
Famed naturalist John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, hunter and painter. He was most famous for his paintings of North American birds that he also catalogued and wrote about throughout his life. It is the latter years of his life and his love of birds that are at the heart of FEVER DREAM, the latest thriller in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's continuing series featuring FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast.
FEVER DREAM opens with an event that occurred 12 years previously. When word spread amongst their camp in Zambria that a German tourist had been dragged into the jungle by a large lion and feared slain, Pendergast and his wife, Helen, were called to action to see if any remains were to be found. What was most intriguing to Pendergast was the fact that the lion in question was described as being abnormally large and bearing a fire-red mane. The same such lion terrorized that area 40 years earlier and has become the subject of terrifying local legend.
During their journey into the jungle, Pendergast and Helen were both attacked by the very same lion. They bravely fought it off as best they could, but the beast was just too powerful for them. In the end, Pendergast awakened in a village hospital suffering from wounds he received. Most regrettably was the fact that Helen was dragged off and there was no sign of her. Pendergast hastened his recovery and stormed off after any trace of her or the lion. He was horrified when he located her remains and the lion that perpetrated the deed not far away. Little does he realize at the time that this deadly attack may have been a setup, and what appeared to be a hazard of the African wild may actually have been cold-blooded murder.
Pendergast discovers while going through the gun collection at his Louisiana residence that the rifle Helen had used during their excursion was actually filled with blanks. He quickly jumps to the conclusion that more was at play here and heads directly up to New York City to solicit the assistance of his frequent collaborator, Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta. Offering to pay his wages and cover his benefits for how ever long their personal investigation takes, Pendergast persuades D'Agosta to take a leave of absence and join him in the search for the truth behind Helen's death.
The story moves at a fast pace, as do most of Preston and Child's works, and the reader is hurried along to Africa, Maine, and hidden areas of the American South as Pendergast and D'Agosta track every clue they uncover to build a compelling case. As with many mysteries of this type, Pendergast quickly discovers that he did not know everything about his wife. In particular, she was seemingly obsessed with John James Audubon. Specifically, she spent a great deal of time in a private search for a long-lost painting Audubon allegedly did in his last days known only as the Black Frame.
It would not be a Preston and Child novel if there were not intricate research and a Crichton-like medical and technological basis underlying their plot's foundation. Was Helen actually obsessed with the Black Frame painting itself, or could she have been looking for something altogether different that the style of the painting might represent? Pendergast and D'Agosta begin to realize that the ironic focus Audubon had on birds might have led to the illness that claimed his own life and also may be behind top-secret and deadly medical research perpetrated by a pharmaceutical research company with ties to both Audubon and Helen.
During the course of the novel, Pendergast must solicit the assistance of his former brother-in-law as well as D'Agosta's co-worker and love interest, Captain Laura Heyward. All of their lives are put at risk as the secrets behind Helen's death as well as a shocking violent incident that took place in the Louisiana bayou are the tip of the iceberg in a medical conspiracy that many influential people will kill to keep hidden. Preston and Child have created a top-notch mystery that still follows along with the formula of their previous classic thrillers.
A side-bar plotline involving Pendergast's mysterious "niece," Constance Greene, provides enough fodder for a novel of its own. With FEVER DREAM, Preston and Child are at the top of their game and create a mystery so compelling that fans of their prior work will be glued to their seats. The open ending lends itself to an obvious follow-up that I look forward to reading. This is the first novel in the series that does not rely on fantastical or supernatural themes and allows them to strut their talents as engaging writers of fast-paced, intelligent fiction that never ceases to entertain.
47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
In "Fever Dream" by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is faced with an impossible task--solving the mysterious murder of his wife Helen Easterhazy, a medical researcher, who is ferociously eaten by a lion during their African safari after somebody, loads her gun with blanks. Twelve years later, Pendergast must re-trace the events of that fateful safari and pinpoint Helen's enemies.
As Pendergast starts the investigation, with the help of NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta, he realizes that he never really knew his wife. Returning to Africa, he learns that the lion that ate her was an elaborate set-up and most of the people involved in the original safari have since passed. Back in America, Pendergast and D'Agosta learn of Helen's mysterious obsession with famous painter John James Audubon and his masterpiece known as the Black Frame. The painting was never found, and Audubon's life ended in madness.
As he starts interviewing people from Helen's past, Pendergast learns of her involvement in Project Aves and the scary fates of all those who were a part of it. While Pendergast struggles to find the painting and trace Audubon's connection, the murders start.
This book boasts a whole cast of creepy characters, but this only enhanced the story. One of the people most close to Helen turns out to be a traitor, while almost everyone surrounding Pendergast--including his servant Maurice, have ulterior motives. Then there's Pendergast's guardianship of Constance Greene, a young woman accused of killing her own baby.
Overall, I thought the story was pretty captivating. I liked the exotic safari setting, and the ending which has a `to-be-continued' vibe about it. The story really becomes interesting during the latter half of the book, and is hard to put down at the end. A lot of themes are touched upon, which I won't give away, but suffice to say that the plot reads like a mystery novel.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2010
Preston and Child's latest novel, Fever Dream, featuring Special Agent Pendergast is a must read for fans of the series. I am a long time fan and let me tell you, this is Pendergast as you have never seen him before. Twelve years after the fact, Pendergast discovers that the death of his wife, Helen, was not an accident. As he struggles to keep his emotions under control, and with D'Agosta's help, Pendergast proceeds to follow the cold trail in an attempt to discover who wanted his wife dead and why. The investigation actually involves Helen Pendergast's secret interest in the painter John James Audubon. For those of you who have not been reading Preston and Child's books, please note that Fever Dream is also a very satisfactory stand-alone novel. I enjoyed the fast paced plot and the twists the investigation followed. No spoilers here, but I found the ending... perfectly chilling. Additionally, there is a special announcement by Preston and Child at the end of the book that has me giddy with excitement. Very Highly Recommended
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2010
I always look with anticipation for upcoming works, solo or collaborative, from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. This is especially true when the collaboration features one of the most original characters to grace fiction in recent years, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast.
I can't claim a favorite in the Pendergast series, as I see each novel as a story unto itself, and each new meeting with the characters as a new perspective of a skillfully woven tapestry.
I have only just finished reading Fever Dream, and already I am eagerly awaiting the next work by Preston & Child.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
Out of all the Pendergast novels I've read so far, to me this is the best one. A very cool premise and setup is followed up by a thrilling adventure with imaginative backdrops and a lot of suspense - not to mention unexpected plot turns that took me quite by surprise.
As always, Preston and Child have a wonderful way with language, creating phrases and evocative scenes that come to life in your head.
Very cool read that is worth every penny - and that includes the Kindle version, which I read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2010
I have read all the Pendergast books and some are better than others. This one, in my opnion was one of the best. Pendergast was back! In his typical style. Preston & Child did a marvelous job with Pendergast as the sleuth with assistance from previous characters, D'Agosta and his girlfriend, Hayward. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to more. I was a little disappointed in the ending, however, and what happenend to Constance Greene.