23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the corpse I was expecting!
Above all this book is much better than the last in the Gideon Series, Gideon's Sword. I can say I'm very relieved that the authors were able to "fix" this installment. While it still has issues with suspension of disbelief, I never stopped, looked around and said "what the heck?" like I did so many times during Gideon's last adventure. There were sufficient situations...
Published on January 10, 2012 by Smoochy
155 of 173 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Second worst book I've ever read by two of my favorite authors
I love Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Absolutely love them. I've read every book written by them (both their solo efforts as well as their joint endeavors) and I've done so multiple times. In fact, I've probably read every one of the Pendergast books many, many times, pulling them all out again, year after year, to read through in order. I've been to see them on...
Published on January 14, 2012 by Neon Martini
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155 of 173 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Second worst book I've ever read by two of my favorite authors,
I love Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Absolutely love them. I've read every book written by them (both their solo efforts as well as their joint endeavors) and I've done so multiple times. In fact, I've probably read every one of the Pendergast books many, many times, pulling them all out again, year after year, to read through in order. I've been to see them on their book tours and own many autographed copies of their works. I've even corresponded with them through their website, so I really do love these guys.
That having been said, the Gideon Crew series is atrocious. Absolutely atrocious. From run-on sentences to cliched plot devices and disbelief that must not only be suspended, but bled, drawn and quartered, burned, and scattered to the waves, Gideon's Corpse is a travesty, more likely the work of a mildly talented adolescent than two masters of the modern thriller. Do yourself a favor -- pick up the Pendergast series and read it (again, if you've already read them), but leave Gideon's Corpse to rot.
I was extremely displeased with the first book in this series, Gideon's Sword, but held out hope that the first book was just a fluke, a rare, poor effort that would be promptly corrected with the next book in the series, Gideon's Corpse. Admittedly, Gideon's Corpse is a vast improvement over the first book, but that really isn't saying much and I finished this book knowing that I'd never read another book in the Gideon series.
The off-putting aspects of this book are many. The plot of this one is obtusely byzantine and makes little or no sense when the end is reached. From bad guys who must be practically all-powerful (until the end, when their machinations are quickly resolved in a post-climax denouement) to utterly imbecilic "good guys" who fall for ruses that the reader will see through in mere moments, this book is a real travesty and it's a shame that the great Douglas Preston and fantastic Lincoln Child have their names on this one.
As one example, I'd like to point out the entirely ludicrous notion of "planted" computer evidence in the context of the story. When an entire nation is gripped by panic from an impending nuclear attack, there is absolutely no way that planted e-mails would escape the forensic notice of every single branch of national law enforcement that was seeking to locate the source of the plot. This plot-point seemed to me like the pseudo-clever machinations of a mildly talented, but immature writer -- planted evidence that everyone would fall for and then fall over themselves trying to track down the conspirators yet never realizing that these were fake? Come on!
Similarly, when the reader realizes how far into the upper echelons of power that this plot extends, one question leaps to mind -- why so byzantine? Why, if this conspiracy reached to the levels that it did, was the sleight of hand necessary? Why couldn't the "powerful bad guys" (and you'll know who I'm talking about if you've read this story) have just gone straight into that base without all the machinations? It's akin to the president of the United States faking a car theft in Washington (using members of the Secret Service) in order to later break into his own office safe.
Fordyce and Alida serve practically no purpose whatsoever. Alida, especially, just merely seems to be a tacked-on plot device ("insert 'love' interest here") with absolutely no real plot pertinence at all. And Fordyce? Well, he's probably the most useless sidekick in the history of novels.
Oh! And that reminds me! So, Gideon and Fordyce "team up" and go out on an investigation, following up on leads and interviewing folks. But Gideon is not a law enforcement official; he's merely the protagonist of the tale and, as such, has no legal or bureaucratic standing at all. So, when Gideon and Fordyce are forced apart later in the story and the FBI agent continues interviewing suspects and witnesses and Fordyce is told to "stand down" because those interviews could never be used since they were not "by the book" (as no other agent was present as a witness) that makes not a whit of sense. I mean, nobody complained about that before when Fordyce was running around with Gideon (not an FBI agent) and conducting interviews. Sure, sure. I understand that it was the bad guys trying to force the agent to stop the investigation, but the author expects the explanation that's given to Fordyce by his superiors to make some minimal sense in the context of the story and to the agent himself. Yet, all the action that we've seen with Fordyce up until that point puts the lie to that ridiculous plot device.
Furthermore, that denouement confession by one of the principal conspirators sure is lucky as heck, huh? I mean, it's a good thing that the conspirator who survived in the end didn't just stick with the "Gideon is the bad guy and doing all this stuff" story, right? Had he done so, Gideon would literally have been holding the bag (or the puck, as it were) in the end! Fortunately, between a timely confession by someone who had no reason to confess and the sussing out of planted evidence that wasn't discovered in the TEN DAYS prior when every single law enforcement official worth his or her salt would have squeezed every single drop of forensic evidence out of those computers and e-mails in their headlong rush to stop a NUCLEAR BOMB, Gideon Crew lives to fight another day! Why, it's almost like the authors just quickly explained things away magically!
I'm really looking forward to the next book in Pendergast stories ("Two Graves"), but I'm going to have to take a pass on any further adventures from this bland and boring hero.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than GIDEON'S SWORD -- but prepare to suspend disbelief!,
First, let's cut right to the chase - GIDEON'S CORPSE is better than GIDEON'S SWORD. The plot is better, the characterizations are better, and the writing is better. The story begins exactly where SWORD left off - Gideon is asked by the mysterious Glinn from Effective Engineering Solutions (EES) to intercede in a hostage situation involving a colleague of his, Reed Chalker, who is holding a family hostage in his NYC apartment. The scene is eerily similar to Gideon's father's tragic death decades earlier - is Chalker really a crazy kidnapper, or is what he claims (that he himself has been kidnapped and experiment on by government agents) actually true? Gideon's father was an innocent man scapegoated by the feds. What about Chalker? It becomes quickly apparent that Chalker has come in contact with radioactive isotopes - someone has assembled a nuclear weapon. Is Chalker an Islamic extremist bent on detonating a nuclear bomb in New York? Is Washington the real target? Who's behind the terrorist threat? Can Gideon Crew find the answers in time to stop an American tragedy?
I liked Gideon's character more in this book than I did in the last one. We learn more about his past as an art thief, which helps explain his masterful skill at disguise and voice alteration. Also, his relationship with a new FBI partner, Stone Fordyce, helps flesh out his personality a bit. I liked the way they worked together - Fordyce's by-the-book dryness contrasts well with Gideon's rebelliousness. On a less positive note, the "wiseass" thing is still a bit annoying to me - Gideon seems to make wisecracks at all the wrong moments, and they're never particularly witty. There's also a romantic element to the novel that stretches credibility a bit too much - it's rather amusing how the authors manage to get their characters naked at the most inopportune of times (the romance is actually the weakest part of the novel - never once did I believe it). And Mr. Preston and Mr. Child, please come up with another trademark expression for Gideon - the "sink me" thing just doesn't fly.
Ultimately, GIDEON'S CORPSE will work for you if you can suspend disbelief enough to buy into the story, which is a conspiracy theorist's dream. The biggest problem I had with it is how little the events that are unfolding (a threatened nuclear strike in a major US city, the decimation of the stock market, mass panic and exodus from major cities, etc.) seem to affect the world of the novel. We hear some of what's happening through a radio report Gideon hears during a cross-country road trip, but none of it ever seems real. Stores are still open, gas stations are still selling gas, everyone's still going to work - it all seems too much like business as usual. Just think how things were in the aftermath of 9/11 - I don't get that at all in this novel, and that's a shame. Beyond that, you have to accept the many, many coincidences that help Gideon (who has no training in espionage at all) do what the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA can't - save the world from certain disaster. No one else can do it, but Gideon Crew can. If you look at it as a fantasy story, it works better.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel enough to consider reading the next one. It's all very "Mission Impossible," I guess - an episodic story that would make a good TV series. The ending of GIDEON'S CORPSE takes a direction I had not anticipated, which is a plus (although it's not something that can withstand too much thought - none of it makes much sense). GIDEON'S CORPSE is not up there with any of Preston & Child's masterpieces, but it's a serviceable read for a cold winter afternoon.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the corpse I was expecting!,
Above all this book is much better than the last in the Gideon Series, Gideon's Sword. I can say I'm very relieved that the authors were able to "fix" this installment. While it still has issues with suspension of disbelief, I never stopped, looked around and said "what the heck?" like I did so many times during Gideon's last adventure. There were sufficient situations to hold the readers' attentions, but they seemed to come near the beginning and the end, with an "ambling around in the desert" section in between. The authors clearly like horses and chases and canyons and liaison in caves- they have made this abundantly clear through most of their novels, and they spend about half the book on this here. We follow the characters on a string of useless leads for what seems half of the book, with the authors dropping hint after hint as to what the reality of the situation was, the whole time engaging in a laughable attempt at romance writing. The biggest problem I encountered, as in the last, was the insanely predictable screenplay-centric plot. The average reader of Preston and Child is smarter than this and deserves better, which is certainly a possible explanation for why this series has been so poorly received by that audience. It certainly is another book to read by the duo, but by all means the core Preston and Child readers will not be particularly impressed.
For those not yet aware, this series has been picked up by the folks at Paramount and will be produced by Michael Bay, random explosion extraordinaire. It really lacks the depth of the other books these authors have written; it has to. When deep, spellbinding novels are transformed into movies, it doesn't usually work well and things must be cut. There is no more fitting an example that the movie adaptation of The Relic (The Relic), based on what is arguably Preston and Child's best book (Relic (Pendergast, Book 1)). It is quite probable that what we are seeing here is the unfortunate effect that writing a book to be made into a movie has on authors. Accepting this reality may help the committed Preston and Child reader to accept these books. It certainly has helped this author. Imagine them as movies - if they are done correctly and not like the Transformers series (how many of those are there now, six? More than the chipmunk movies?), they will be on par with many of the better action series.
I would give this book 3.5 stars if I could, for its improvement over the last book. 4 stars is generous but acceptable. It's a good book for a plane ride or a lazy day. Get it right away if you're a fan - if you're not, wait for it to be half price.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I give up,
I have read almost all of the many books written by Preston, Child, and Preston and Child. I have enjoyed most, but with the exception of Fever Dream, the books keep getting worse. The reviews of Gideon's Sword were so bad I didn't bother. I wish I hadn't bothered with this one either. It reads like it was written quickly and no one bothered to edit it. The plot was predictable. Characters change their character, logic and reason are abandoned. Both characters and plot are unrealistic. Gideon and his FBI sidekick pick up on subtle clues with such ease, yet miss the obvious clues until the very end. And guys, people don't become radioactive, much less highly radioactive, by being irradiated. In previous books they set air on fire! Don't they know any scientists to keep them from making such embarrassing goofs? In my hardcover copy of their book there are pages missing. The numbers are sequential, but mid-sentence, the following page picks up with the ending of a different sentence and a clear jump in the story. The book is very sloppy. They apparently have decided that they can just knock off anything and it will probably sell just fine. Well, I have given up on them.
29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Now I Know,
I kept thinking that a high school boy might REALLY love this . . . I didn't. Now I know to stay away from past and future Gideon adventures and wait for my beloved Pendergast to return.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst from the best!,
Literally one of the worst books I have ever read from two of my absolute favorite authors. I've read everything Preston and Child have ever ever read, but this is absolutely terrible.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Preston&Child steep lower yet.,
Words cannot describe how disappointed I am with this pair of authors. They quickly became my favorite authors to read when I had read Relic. But now I am very curious as to what they are thinking, putting out this kind of garbage. Don't get me wrong it IS written better than Sword, but that doesn't say much, considering I would rate Sword 1 star, and Corpse 1.3 stars.
I really hope the duo make up for this trash lately with "Two Graves" the final to the Helen Trilogy. I have very high expectations for that finale. But after finishing this, (skimming the middle 300 pages of the book), I am questioning whether it will be worth it to read any of their books in the future. Yeah, the Gideon series is THAT bad....
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DEFINITELY NOT THEIR BEST,
This story is full of awkward writing and unrealistic scenes. For instance, the chainsaw fight at the hippy dippy ranch was too bizarre to begin with, which led the authors to write awkwardly, as if they were just trying to get through this piece and be done with it. To think the woman who they only wanted to talk with would be hanging out, just waiting on the ground for the outcome of the fight, to be swept away by the FBI agent was too fantastical. Sorry, but this is trash writing, pulp fiction.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars appallingly bad,
Besides the ludicrous plot, the nonsensical characters, etc. we have --again -- the authors' use of the FBI badge as the answer to almost any situation. Seriously, FBI agents don't roam the country by themselves flashing their badges wherever they go to get anything they want or do anything they want. And as a fictional device, it's not original, clever, or amusing.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Preston & Child go completely commerical,
I've read all the Preston & Child books, so I'm clearly a fan. This one takes the cake for the worst. Hands down. Bland, formulaic and without really any character. Don't bother!
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Gideon's Corpse (Gideon Crew series) by Douglas Preston (Mass Market Paperback - September 25, 2012)