81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hogwash - But O So Fun!
There are some books I struggle to finish because the premise is so outlandish that my 'yea right,' radar goes off on every page and I can't find the stories believable. With Preston and Child, however, they can write a book and have the most outlandish premise but I gobble up each page in anticipation of what comes next. I thoroughly enjoy their work. They provide great...
Published 14 months ago by C. Irish
56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Pendergast Novel is Just OK -
I'm sad to say that this new 'Pendergast' novel is just not up to the usual high standards of Preston and Child. For some inexplicable reason the book is broken into three stories: the main story involving the main protagonist, Agent Pendergast and also two additional stories involving other characters which have been included in other Pendergast stories. The two side...
Published 14 months ago by Ron Chicaferro
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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hogwash - But O So Fun!,
There are some books I struggle to finish because the premise is so outlandish that my 'yea right,' radar goes off on every page and I can't find the stories believable. With Preston and Child, however, they can write a book and have the most outlandish premise but I gobble up each page in anticipation of what comes next. I thoroughly enjoy their work. They provide great atmosphere, evil characters, wonderful heroes and a wee bit of stretchy plots, but I always smile when I see a new Pendergast novel.
Two Graves explores Helen's past and we meet the people who wanted her dead. I had thought the series had faultered with all the Helen and Pendergast drama, but this book sums it all up and puts to rest the marriage with all of its complications, implications and secrets. For me, the last book, Cold Vengeance, and this one came together and explained the mystery surrounding Helen and ties it up. There are several new twists which are very surprising and makes this reader want to delve into the next novel with high anticipation.
Two Graves starts off interestingly with a series of bizarre murders in New York where the killer allows himself to be video taped walking around in the hotels where he commits his atrocious acts. Pendergast is wallowing in self pity as his beloved Helen has again been kidnapped and he feels he is at fault. Vincent's crime report of the bizarre killings causes Pendergast to snap out of his slump and get to work.
There are some minor plots that involve other characters (an especially good one involving Constance Green) in the series but the main story has Pendergast out to seek revenge against a familiar evil and in turn, he comes face to face with rather bizarre revelations in the process.
This is a book fans will eat up. The 'yea right' factor may rear its head but with the deft hands of Preston and Child it will be ran over and riddled with bullets before you can turn the page to find out what happens next.
136 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a dish best served on a silver platter, by Proctor, in the library,
There have been a lot of good books from big name authors this year. Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Ken Follett, Lee Child, Brett Battles, James Rollins, Daniel Silva, Michael Connelly, "Robert Ludlum", and even Michael Crichton have recentlymade contributions to my bookshelf. Two graves is my favorite, and easily the best book I've read in quite a while. It's not that rare that a book comes along that I enjoy so much I finish reading it in a night or two. But what is rare are books so good that I actually slow down and take the time to enjoy every page, and two graves was one of those books. I gave it five stars because it's that good of a book. Not because I'm a devotee of the authors and NOT because I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy by the authors. This book has it all. Love, hate, despair, redemption, Nazis, thievery, action, guns, and a plot that twists and turns but never leaves you behind and never loses your interest. Did I mention there are Nazis? Oh yeah, and their secret base is in a volcano, seriously. Awesome. Two graves will make you start the next chapter even though you have to be up in four hours.
56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Pendergast Novel is Just OK -,
I'm sad to say that this new 'Pendergast' novel is just not up to the usual high standards of Preston and Child. For some inexplicable reason the book is broken into three stories: the main story involving the main protagonist, Agent Pendergast and also two additional stories involving other characters which have been included in other Pendergast stories. The two side stories lend nothing to the main story and make no sense being included. The main story is fine although the authors seem to be searching for more and more bizarre cases to involve Pendergast. The main story starts out nicely with some gruesome murders - but then it suddenly changes course and moves into a different story - most inexplicable. Hopefully, Preston and Child return to the basics of what made Agent Pendergast such a terrific character.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The worst 'Pendergast' novel...ever,
I am a long-time, devoted and enthusiastic fan of the novels (jointly and solo-written) of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child...especially those devoted to the adventures of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast.
Not that each one was a masterpiece...but, each featured some hair-raising danger and the brilliant, laconic, enigmatic...yet never superhero-ish...Pendergast. This theme was consistent troughout the 1st two books of their latest Pendergast trilogy (Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance); which opened a new window into Pendergast's history; placed him in unprecedented personal danger and laid out a plot of international intrigues worthy of Bond vs SPECTRE.
Therefore, it was with great anticipation that I started to read the final book: "Two Graves"; and, with greater disappointment that I came to its conclusion. If the two authors had not been so prominent in promoting the book via commercials, Facebook, etc, I would have had to believe that it was a cheap imitation of one of their novels...by a very inferior writer(s).
Sadly, it reflects the kind of 'writing' that Preston/Child presented with their 'Gideon' series...a lower level of cheap thrills, ridiculous escapes and leaps of faith that more properly belong in the books of the 'Matt Helm' or 'Destroyer' canon.
In Two Graves, the conspiracy turns out to be the work of (gasp!) super-science neo-Nazis, working from a hidden base in the Amazon Jungle (beyond cliche); and, Pendergast is transformed into an indestructible Superhero: combining aspects of Doc Savage, Indiana Jones, Batman...with a little 'Spy Smasher' thrown in for good measure.
While past Pendergast novels have always included a touch (or, a lot) of pulp-y SciFi gimmicks (youth serums, monsters created by eating forbidden veggies, etc.) they have always insisted on a level of respect for the reader's intelligence. None of them has ever been as ludicrous, banal, and as plain sloppy as the plotting/pacing/characterizations of 'Two Graves'.
While I look forward to the continued efforts of these authors, I may get their next Pendergast novel from my local library, before paying good money for another novel as brainless as 'Two Graves'. Gentlemen, you are better than this!
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A long wait for something average,
This was definitely one of the more sour tasting Pendergast novels. The novel started up nicely enough but tapered off quickly. I had several upsets along the way. Some of the wording in the book was very repetitive, not just used often but used close together as well. For example - As he dove under the water the propeller missed his head by inches. He breached the surface and a gunshot rang out missing his head by inches.
There were a lot of missed by mere inch moments. I feel overall revelations in this book jump the shark, perhaps even a few times. Also, if the Dr. Felder and Corrie Swanson side stories were deleted altogether, this book in the series would be quite short. Those little jumps in the story were extremely boring to me, and provided absolutely no forward movement for the plot. If they are going to be expounded upon in subsequent novels, the authors should have just put those elements into the next one.
I usually enjoy finishing a Pendergast novel and comparing notes with my sister. Discussing which parts I enjoyed, which parts I had unanswered questions on, and we deliberate our hypotheses. With this one now concluded and I look back on it, there really wasn't too much to really enjoy compared to earlier works.
One statement that stuck out like a ugly, grotesque thumb, was when D'gosta was looking into this serial killer, and he says to himself in an inner monologue, how that he and Pendergast had worked on several cases in the past, but this one was the most strange. When that line came out, I had my own inner monologue that went something like this:
Wait, hold up. Seriously the strangest. Some douchebag serial killer is murdering people and leaving body parts at the crime scene and a message. That is weird, but remember that case where something was killing people and removing their brains and taking a large bite out of it. Or when some guy was stalking people and removing sections of their spines and creating some bizarre formula to slow the aging process. Or when there was the possibility of zombies roaming the streets of N.Y. Or even stranger still people being murdered by a possible demon.
Now those cases were strange, but this little serial killer didn't seem very interesting at all, and even less interesting was who the serial killer turns out to be. That individual would be the flying leap over the shark I mentioned. Furthermore, I just don't think the concept of the whole Nazis being involved grasped me. I'm hoping they fix their formula for the next Pendergast novel and give us another top notch stand alone. Overall, the wait for this newest edition seemed very anti-climatic.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but...,
I have mixed feelings about the last several Pendergast novels, the "Helen" trilogy in particular. Two Graves are solid. It's a good read and I wanted to know how it ends. It's nice that this one wraps up the "Helen" trilogy and we learn a lot more about Constance Green. But...I miss some of the old Pendergast. The Pendergast of Relic and Still Life with Crows. The brooding, Sherlockian Pendergast who pulls on the threads of an unusual scenario and then finally springs to action to catch a killer is still my favorite.
I'm of the opinion that some characters should develop and other characters really shouldn't. They should be the anchor around which other characters grow. In the early books, Pendergast was the anchor. D'Agosta, Corrie and others grew around Pendergast. In the last few books we more development of Pendergast and I'm less excited about it. I miss the mystery that was Pendergast.
As others have commented, the subplot with Corrie Swanson seems out of place. It feels like they are setting us up for a series starring her. What I would love to see in a future book is a Pendergast backstory, how did he come to join the FBI? Why to they pay him a dollar a year?
All in all, a good book. Maybe not the direction I was hoping for, but good none the less.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars even for Pendergast, beyond belief,
A fan of both authors ( until recently) and especially the character Agent Pendergast I was excited to read this book. Half of it I skimmed through, which you'll note is a few hundred pages... The entire 'secret' Bavarian/Nazi recreated town in Brazil with it's 'secret' genetic experiments......boring. And old. Hasn't this theme been told a few times during the past 60 years??? The all encompassing almost debilitating love Pendergast has for wife Helen - and she never once, even knowing all his skills and intellectual acuity, never tells him about her birth, her twin - and never mentions she gave birth to his children?????? Maybe Pendergast sunk so low and wanted to kill himself not out of love but for being such an idiot? Perhaps he couldn't cope that someone pulled off that level of subterfuge on him? I skimmed through the Brazil Nazi town section, but I did find the Tristams invocation to 'love one another' at the height of an armed conflict to be very banal and most unbelievable. I do realize it's a story and am prepared to suspend certain realities, but come on - I felt like I was reading a child's book with a moral theme gussied up for adults. Other reviewers have made comments I completely agree with, such as Pendergasts superhuman strength, shooting accurately from an unstable racing motorcycle...on and on.... And we finally find out the truth about Constance...uh huh. And what? What's with the goofy old broad who has her servant bury people in the cellar? really? I wouldn't buy another book by these two, which is a shame for me as I enjoyed the previous ones, so I'll be missing out. My opinion: if you're still interested in the authors after this book - try the library first.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reaching too far,
I think the authors reached a bit too far on the plot on this one. They've clearly set up for a sequel yet again, but each new installment in Pendergast seems to get less vibrant and more forced. Where is the Pendergast of the Museum days or even the Crow days?
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should Be the End,
I look forward to reading the Pendergast novels each year. They've been good, ridiculous fun with some great characters. Alas, after "Two Graves," I'm not certain I'll be waiting for the next one with as much anticipation. There's "over-the-top," and then there's incoherent. "Two Graves" crosses that line. It can't make up its mind where its going, or what its doing. Halfway through, I found myself hoping that for once, Pendergast wouldn't escape, that the Nazis would finish him off, and that the series would be at an end.
That's right. The authors made me root for the Nazis. Not a good omen.
I fervently hope that this is a temporary detour from the usual quality, but I'll be looking at the next one with suspicion.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Two Graves of Cohesiveness and Reason,
I've read every Pendergast novel. Gradually he's become a more and more unrealistic character (not that he was ever particularly believable), but the stories were inventive and fun, so we forgave the authors their silly excesses. It's fiction, after all, and writers get to create their own worlds. But "Two Graves" is a colossal miscalculation. I don't think I've ever been more furious at a book. For the first two thirds of this trilogy, centered around Pendergast's late (?) wife, the authors built suspense, developed characters, and gradually framed a fairly interesting story. The authors then completely crush and obliterate that story in the first 50 pages of part 3. I wish I was exaggerating. Almost from the start, the reader is left with only one or two loose strands of extremely thin plot line to connect the previous two installments with "Two Graves". And after the near immediate evisceration of the story, it becomes clear Preston & Child intend to use the rest of the book to lay out four seperate plot lines, none of which appear to have much to do with each other, are barely connected to the rest of the triology, and cannot be reconciled without completely suspending logic and rationality. The authors must have had a VERY strict deadline.
Preston and Child remain gifted writers, but reading "Two Graves" is an exercise in patience and forgiveness. I'll likely read the next Pendergast book all the same, but I will not buy it. When it comes out, on a subsequent visit to my local library, if I remember, I'll grab it on my way out the door.
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Two Graves by Douglas Preston (Audio CD - December 11, 2012)
Used & New from: $5.13