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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling, Spine-Tingling, Just Plain Scary Thriller!
"The Cabinet Of Curiosities" is the first book I've read by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and now I look forward to reading more of their work. I understand that many of this book's characters are from their earlier novels, but this character revival does not disturb the narrative's flow at all. All necessary background is explained well, and gives depth to the...
Published on August 2, 2003 by Jana L. Perskie

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
'THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES' is one book in a series from the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child that seems to have a pretty big cult following. The premise for this book in particular interested me, when an underground charnel is found during construction of a new high-rise, FBI agent Pendegrast's interests are aroused and when new victims begin turning...
Published on December 7, 2004 by DevJohn01


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying and pleasurable "read"!, July 14, 2002
By 
coachtim (Indiana, United States) - See all my reviews
Preston and Child have done it again! "The Cabinet of Curiosities" is a wonderful story with familar characters and rich content. P & C have brought back archeologist/museum researcher Nora Kelly, journalist Bill Smithback, and FBI Special Agent Pendergast to try and solve a series of serial killings that may have started as long ago as 130 years. P&C provide the protagionists (and the reader) with a variety of clues along the way as the threesome try and decide if it is a "copycat" killer who's reponsible for the murders or a century-old scientist who may have discovered the secret to prolonging human life.
There's the usual amount of suspense and gore along the way, but not to the point of being gratuitous! Plenty of "medical-speak" that P&C books are noted for is present and the word pictures that P&C use to describe the "cabinets of curiosities" (precursors to the first museums in the 1800's) that our protagonists discover along the way are absolutely riveting!
The "on/off again" romance between Nora and Smithback adds some spark to their relationship and Agent Pendergast is his usual mysterious self. His character is given even greater depth in "TCoC" and we find out a great deal more about his past in this book. (By the way, look for Pendergast to star in the next P&C novel tentatively titled, "Still Life With Crows" scheduled for a summer 2003 release.)
Plot twists abound, although "TCoC" is a little more straightforward in it's march to it's finale. The ending may leave some readers feeling a little dissatisfied, yet this writer felt it was a appropriate way to finish the novel. (After finishing the book, some readers may wish to check out the alternate ending that P&C have created for the book found at their website, prestonchild.com)
If you're a fan of the P&C books, you'll in for a real treat with "TCoC". If you're new to these two terrific writers, I suggest you start with their first (and still probably their best) book, "Relic". Either way you can't go wrong!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great novel from a great team, July 4, 2002
By 
Excession "excession" (Westfield, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
To start, I'd say it would be helpful, but not necessary, to have read The Relic and Reliquary by this team. Both are excellent novels, and they introduce two of the characters from this book. It'd also be good to read Thunderhead as well (Nora Kelly is introduced there). That aside, this book is another page-turner from this duo.
Preston and Child are masters of the just one more chapter school of writing. They use multiple storylines that make it hard to stop: just as you get to a critical "I need to know what happens" point, they switch to the other storyline, and it makes it so you can't stop.
This one starts out simply enough as the archaeological investigation of a century old serial killer, but as with all of their novels, there is a scientific-fantasical explanation in store for us. We are treated to sub-basements, old houses, museum archives, and old family secrets. For the true Preston-Child fan, we find out about Pendergast's background (finally!), and for the first-timer, you get the joy of discovering one of the best thriller writing teams of all. A special note to fans of Preston-Child, check out Michael Connelly's The Poet! You'll love it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing : it *is* too much !, April 6, 2004
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
I found this book a disappointment. I cannot tell if it is because I read it right after Relic, by the same authors, which had very favorably impressed me. This opus sees the comeback of several characters that appeared in previous Preston & Child books (Special Agent Pendergast from Relic, Nora Kelly from Thunderhead and Smithback, appearing in both) as well as the environment of the N.Y. Museum of Natural History, but one does not get the impression of a coherent universe : the Museum's top brass is changed, as is the N.Y. mayor, one wonders where is Margo Green from Relic... and Pendergast is *Really* too much. Too wealthy, too smart, too able... all in all incredible, or should I say unbelievable? . Whereas Relic was a good horror thriller, including the nasty stroke at the end; the Cabinet of Curiosities demands really too much from the reader's goodwill and suspension of disbelief . The sequence of events leading to the serial killer going on a spree, and putting on his trail the only man able to find him out, and who, coincidentally, is ideally fitted for the task with all the necessary traits and who, moreover, is tied to him by bonds the reader will discover as he goes along... It is all too much for me. Perhaps you'll like it better than I did, if you are really fans of the genre or the authors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabinet of Curiosities, March 17, 2012
By 
Roger Bower (DAVISBURG, MI, US) - See all my reviews
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A very well written and exciting story. You never have a dull moment or are left without something to anticipate.If you are seeking a book with vast appeal and suspense, this is it! Another personally positive aspect of this book is the large number of times you are sent to the dictionary. Preston and Child have a very good command of the language and use their knowledge to construct a wonderful thriller. Have fun it's a great, can't put it down read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agent Pendergast and the NY Museum of Natural History Returns, December 28, 2010
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
This latest in the Preston and Child series sees Agent Pendergast return to the NY Museum of Natural History. He enlists the help of an archaeologist at the museum, Nora Kelly. Bill Smithback, the journalist from "The Relic" and the "The Reliquary" returns in this book. Bill Smithback and Nora Kelly are boyfriend and girlfriend and they will face with Agent Pendergast a serial killer who is terrorizing the streets of Manhattan.

This book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. There are also a number of interesting historical details about 19th century New York including "Cabinets of Curiosities" that existed in the late 1800's.

A serial killer is on the loose in NYC and seems to be mimicking the crimes of another serial killer from the 1800's. Agent Pendergast, Nora Kelly and Bill Smithback begin to run the killer to ground. Suspension of belief is required with this novel but if you are looking for edge of your seat thrills and some interesting historical information about old NYC then this is your book. Be warned some the killings are quite gruesome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The suspense was pretty good but the story kind of fell apart, January 15, 2009
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
FBI Special Agent Pendergast is in New York City on unofficial business. He is deeply interested in a crime scene that is over 100-years old, yet he refuses to tell anyone why. Once again he enlists the help of someone who works at the Museum of Natural History to aid him in his rogue investigation. Like the first two books in the Pendergast series, Agent Pendergast is a unique man. He is almost like a more bookish James Bond. Unlike the first two books in the series, in The Cabinet of Curiosities Agent Pendergast is acting very much on his own behalf and receives little to no help from the NYPD.

Pendergast has always marched to the beat of his own drum, but in this book he really has gone rogue. His intentions are not always clear and his messages are more cryptic than ever. This book focused more on him and his work, so maybe that is why there was a different feel. If that is all it takes to change my opinion of this series, please let Agent Pendergast take a step back. He seems to make a better supporting cast member than lead.

I am about to make a statement that even I think sounds ridiculous. The story in this book was a little too far-fetched for me. Yes that means that I had no problems with a reptile/human hybrid creature that terrorized a museum feasting on any hypothalemus it encountered. All I can say was that was within my limits, but this story was not. Some sci-fi works for you and some does not. This sci-fi did not work for me.

And I thought the conclusion to this conflict to be quite poor. The entire book we wonder what this antagonist's great life purpose was. And when you find out the entire story falls flat on its face. I am not saying that I can do any better than the two men who authored this book. Ultimately all I am saying is that I recommend only the first two books of the Pendergast series. I will probably not keep reading these books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but characters are a little flat and ending is a bit of a let down, October 30, 2008
By 
J. Norburn (Quesnel, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the fourth Agent Pendergast novel I've read and the second best so far. I enjoy the genre blending element of these novels and find Pendergast to be an interesting character. The premise of the novel is intriguing and the suspense, for the most part, builds well.

In the four novels I've read, including Cabinet of Curiosities, Preston and Childs come close, but don't quite realize the full potential of this series. I enjoyed Cabinet of Curiosities but I have a few relatively minor complaints as well.

1. The characterization is a little weak: The Police Captain is a cliché. While a stupid man might arguably rise to that rank in the NYPD, I find it hard to imagine that anyone could rise to the rank of Captain without being at least a little savvy when it comes to the politics of the Department and City. The scenes where he blunders and blusters into the investigation grated a little on me because I could never believe they were real. The weak characterizations extend beyond just the police captain. I found almost all of the characters a little thin. Pendergast himself is made a little too superhuman in this novel, both mentally and physically, which strained credibility a little for me.
2. The novel is a little padded: It's probably 50 or so pages longer than it needed to be and the diversions tend to bog the novel down.
3. The ending is a bit of a let down: The killer's experiments in the 1800's and early 1900's were, as we come to learn, an ends to a means. When the mystery of this larger purpose is revealed, it's a little unwhellming and a bit of a let down.

Despite my minor complaints, this is still a very entertaining novel. Not exactly a `home run', but a solid page turner none-the-less. The blending of history, science, the supernatural, and crime makes for an entertaining mix. My complaints about the ending and the bloated writing are consistent to all of the Pendergast novels I've read so far. Where this novel falls a little short of my favorite Pendergast novel, Still Life With Crows, is the characterization. The secondary characters in Still Life were much richer and more fully realized.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Held my attention throughout, January 13, 2008
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
I recently discovered Preston and Child and have now read several of their books. I've found them all entertaining, but none as engrossing as this one. I found myself unable to stop reading since these authors have a knack for creating enough excitement at the end of each chapter that I had no choice but to continue.

Child and Preston do a nice job of creating several possibilities that give you an idea of the ultimate outcome without giving it away. I also enjoyed how the authors get you to start to believe the unbelievable, only to ... oh, I shouldn't say more.

To truly enjoy this book, you must like a little horror and have an open mind to the unbelievable.

With respect to the others I have read by these authors, I would rate this 1/2 star better than Riptide and 1.5 stars better than the Book of the Dead.

This is the best so far,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what an idea!!!!!! but alas in the end..........., January 6, 2007
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
It was a great suspense and mystery novel, the plot was superb, edge of your seat kind of thriller. extremely haunting idea, but....... in the last 1/4th of the novel the writers clearly blew it, atleast in my opinion. They should have continued the initial idea till the end. but they changed everything significantly in the end, and in my opinion destroyed it.

imagine meeting the great villian himself !! I dont want to give away the story here. still think that it's a worhty thriller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New York gothic, April 5, 2006
This review is from: The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) (Mass Market Paperback)
It is incredible how a city like New York may become the place of a nearly classical gothic novel of terror and horror. Preston and Child create an atmosphere of a Jack the Ripper and Frankenstein story with dark buildings, hallways and a gory secret. But also the references to historical life in New York, the cabinets of curiosities from ancient centuries and natural history as a whole are extremely rich and make this thriller again outstanding. Preston and Child are able to entertain and simultanously give lots of information. For me the only drawback is the medical reference and explanation: This is too unbelievable. Normally this is no problem if it is a good thriller but in this story it is an essential theme and therefore should be consistent. However a great read not at last on behalf of the intersting an well plotted characters including once more the incredible Agent Pendergast.
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The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3)
The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, Book 3) by Lincoln Child (Mass Market Paperback - June 1, 2003)
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