- Series: Agent Pendergast series
- Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 27, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455582905
- ISBN-13: 978-1455582907
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 711 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Still Life with Crows (Agent Pendergast series) Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 2014
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"Smart, skillful writers who have fun spinning their tall tale, and if you enjoy things-that-go-bump-in-the-night thrillers, you'll have fun reading it."―Washington Post Book World
"From the first page, STILL LIFE WITH CROWS is creepy, disturbing, and altogether fascinating: Preston and Child at their best."―Salem Statesman Journal (OR)
"Highly entertaining . . . a creepy, well-plotted novel . . . Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's trademark mix of mystery, suspense, horror, and history proves to be a combination that works."―Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
About the Author
The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.
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For one thing, this book does very little as far as getting to know Pendergast goes. Though he is the only consistent character so far in the series, he never quite takes center stage. To this point, we (the readers) know very little about him; only that he is moneyed, smart, resourceful, and always one step ahead of local law enforcement. Still, despite the lack of revealing information, it is a fun little romp/murder mystery with a familiar character, pace, and scope. Great for airplanes...
My other minor complaint is a plot device that is used near the end of the book. Not spoiling anything, but an important minor character decides to take things into their own hands, without consulting Pendergast or any other appropriate authority, and so gets in a huge heap of trouble. One of the best things about this series is that the stories flow naturally and the characters make reasonable, calculated decisions. In this, Preston and Child have strayed from that tradition, and it was disappointing. Alas, the book was still enjoyable. I will read the next one soon.
The police think a ritual serial killer is loose in the cornfields surrounding Medicine Bend, Kansas. Each unwary victim is easy prey for the killer since he can run like an antelope and then crush a person's neck like a peanut in his large, powerful hands. If he is hungry, he just gobbles up the unfortunate party without any complementing sides or condiments. If he is not so hungry, he will drag them back to his cave and boil the person for dinner or a midnight snack. He is not your typical serial killer. Most of the bodies he leaves behind are in such a foul state the police and crime scene crew continually lose their breakfast, lunch, or dinner when they find his grisly handiwork, usually from the turkey buzzards flying overhead.
The tension of knowing anyone near a cornfield (which is everyone) is fair game and could be to be sliced and diced creates a spine tingling ambience to the landscape all the characters travel.
One of my favorite literary figures, special agent Aloysius Pendergast of the FBI, an albino-like blonde man in a black tailored suit and imported custom shoes is more revealed by Preston and Child in this offering than in the preceding novels. The mystique surrounding this character is so fascinating, I can't wait for his next adventure. Like Elvis, when he exits the building, he always leaves his audience wanting more.
Pendergast's appearance at the initial crime scene in his black suit, white shirt, and tie in the sweltering one-hundred degree heat of the corn fields is priceless.
Being a Stephen King wannabe myself, I am drawn to novels with macabre themes. I love many of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, but my hands down favorite is the "Hound of the Baskervilles" To me, the impending doom presented by the humongous hound of hell is much more compelling than Holmes solving a complex robbery.
According to the web, all of the Preston and Child novels are in the thriller genre, but their best works in my opinion have the familiar elements of horror and spine tingling suspense. And as in "Still Life With Crows," the characters spend a considerable amount of time in the dark where the reader knows someone or something lurks unseen in the blackness with diabolical intentions.
I was worried when Pendergast hired a female Goth to be his chauffeur and then his Watson, but as the story progressed, Carrie's Swanson's involvement was not as tiresome as I feared it would be. The agent's motives for taking her under his wing were never satisfactorily explained for my taste, but the end result was nevertheless satisfying.
As others before moi have written, if there is a weakness in the novel, it would be the ending; however, in the defense of the authors, I was delighted by their explanation of the ritual killings. I doubt many of those who read the book figured this out before hand. I certainly did not.
Way to go Preston & Child, "Still Life With Crows" is another triumph.