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Pendergast-the world's most enigmatic FBI Special Agent-returns to New York City to investigate a murderous cult.
William Smithback, a New York Times reporter, and his wife Nora Kelly, a Museum of Natural History archaeologist, are brutally attacked in their apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Eyewitnesses claim, and the security camera confirms, that the assailant was their strange, sinister neighbor-a man who, by all reports, was already dead and buried weeks earlier. While Captain Laura Hayward leads the official investigation, Pendergast and Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta undertake their own private-and decidedly unorthodox-quest for the truth. Their serpentine journey takes them to an enclave of Manhattan they never imagined could exist: a secretive, reclusive cult of Obeah and vodou which no outsiders have ever survived.
- $14 for the Kindler version. I don't think so.
I love the book series by these authors but I won't pay $14 for the kindle version. I'll buy the tree killing version from Sams Club or wait until the paperback version is out....more info
- another great book!
When my husband came home with the Advanced Reader Copy of Cemetery Dance back in March,the first words out of my mouth were "I love you!". I don't mean it to sound like I only love him for the books he can supply me, but there are benefits to being married to someone who works at a bookstore. Advanced Reader Copies are one of them.
While upset at the death of a long term character, I really enjoyed Cemetery Dance even though it lacked some of the thrill of other Preston/Child books. I have never yet been disappointed in one of their books and don't ever expect to be. While many characters make appearances Cemetery Dance, some are only mentioned in passing. I hope some day we'll get to meet them all again. For the record, while Preston and Child have written thirteen books together, this is the ninth Pendergast novel. I'll never grow tired of him, so hopefully there will be many more....more info
- Has Agent Pendergast Leapt the Great White?
FBI Agent A. X. L. Pendergast is one of noveldom's most intriguing heroes. Authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child deserve credit for creating an unusual protagonist who is equal parts Sherlock Holmes, MacGyver, James Bond, and Fox Mulder, but with an added sheen of Bayou gentility and wealth. Surrounding him are a repeating cast of familiar characters that weave in and out of the nine books that comprise the Pendergast canon.
So it is surprising that _Cemetery Dance_ begins by killing off one of the most consistent characters in the series within the first dozen pages. This violent act forces readers into questioning whether the character is truly deceased because the menace of this novel is the black art of the Caribbean, notably voodoo, Obeah, and the animation of the dead.
Hearkening to his New Orleans roots, Pendergast immerses himself in the quest to locate the shambling being who killed his friend, calling upon his own knowledge of occult practices to find the killer and protect others from death. When his deceased friend appears post-mortem to murder a journalist, Pendergast summons his old culture instructor, Monsieur Bertin, to avail him of his knowledge. With detectives D'Agosta and Hayward also assisting, Pendergast confronts a bizarre cult and a group of headstrong animal rights activists. The dead walk, bodies pile up, but the pale Agent gets his man--usually DOA, as D'Agosta notes.
+ Pendergast is a unique character: FBI agent, dead wife, non-athletic looks, albino appearance, family fortune accumulated by insane ancestors, genius knowledge in all subjects, and possessing a melange of spiritual understandings. Preston and Child have created a fascinating protagonist and his voice is permanently etched into memory. When he's the focus of the chapter, the interest for the reader rises.
+ The menace in this novel plays into the agent's New Orleans roots, adding to the backstory.
+ The authors prove they are willing to keep series readers off-balance by killing a familiar character.
+ The authors do a fine job weaving together arcanum and history to create intrigue.
- In past books, the authors skillfully placed readers in the setting (_Reliquary_, which takes place in the subway tunnels beneath NYC is a fine example), but the descriptions and settings in _Cemetery Dance_ are comparatively underwritten.
- The authors explored death in this book, yet despite the loss of a friend, Pendergast does not reflect on his own major loss, his wife. This was a missed opportunity to broaden the characterization of the hero.
- The book lacks the flow and attention to detail of some earlier books in the series. Subplots are left dangling and characters (like Bertin) seem gratuitous or underformed. Worst of all, no explanation is finally given as to the reality or unreality of the re-animated dead.
- Though technically a standalone novel in the series, it requires too much past knowledge to make for a good starting point for new readers. Nor do the authors attempt to fill in much of the backstory.
- The villain is not villainous, is also underwritten, and truly is no match for Pendergast.
- The police detectives are wasted.
- The finale asks for far too much suspension of disbelief, ultimately proving to be the biggest letdown of the entire series.
This last point forces us to ask whether the Pendergast novels have finally jumped the shark. And that's a bitter question to ask.
_The Cabinet of Curiousities_ is easily the best book in the series, but that was seven books ago. Pendergast's battle against his evil brother (supposedly) has ended as of _The Book of the Dead_. The supporting cast are increasingly lending less and less support and are also growing a bit tiresome. The authors have gone to the same well a few too many times (for instance, I'd hate to be Nora Kelly's insurance company), and the series is simply not moving forward. With a character this good, take more chances with him. Perhaps it's time to get Pendergast out from under the NYC baggage and take him back to New Orleans. (Too bad that _Cemetery Dance_ didn't happen on Pendergast's old turf.) Give us a better look into the agent's odd relationship with his home FBI office. Have his superiors assign him a partner. Have him make a serious error with huge implications. Get him out of the States again (like in _Brimstone_). Rekindle the romance with Lady Maskelene. Give us some backstory on his dead wife. Keep developing the Pendergast character because he is why people read these novels.
_Cemetery Dance_ seems like a pitstop on the road to the next novel, and that's a shame because the authors stalled in the previous book and still can't get the engine running here. And it's curious that the copyright page does not name Douglas Preston. Something felt missing in this book, so it makes one wonder.
Here's one reader who hopes that Preston and Child can summon the magic for the next Pendergast book that made his earlier adventures so riveting. It's the only way to keep the series from becoming an animated corpse....more info
- Preston and Child at their best!
Agent Pendergast is back and he needs to be at his best. It's not enough that he has to deal with murder most foul but he also has to deal with the occult. It's a breath-taking ride through some lesser-known parts of Manhattan. The villians are many and they are at their worst. Read this at night if you dare! ...more info
- Very Good..Not Great
I love this series and this book doesn't disappoint. However the plot resolution leaves a bit to be desired in terms of explanation.
Agent Pendergast is his usual mysterious self and the other characters play to script as in previous books.
Certainly enjoyable and a fast read..yet somehow I never get the feeling I am reading a real page turner..suddenly it is over...
Cannot wait for the next one!...more info
- Good Enough, but Maybe Time to Move On
It is hard for me to do an honest review of a Preston Child book as I've been a fan of them for so long now. As others have mentioned, this book is far better than Wheel of Darkness. Sadly, it seems to just run out of gas at the end and you can guess almost all of the turns in the book. I'm giving the book 3 stars for balance, but in all honesty, it is probably a 3.5 star worthy tome.
As Publisher Weekly screws up for everyone in their review, the book begins with the murder of a series regular and the rest of the crew is left to deal with the aftermath.
The murder appears to have been committed by Colin Fearing, a man who had committed suicide several weeks earlier. The investigation leads to a cult that our murdered character had been investigating on charges of animal cruelty.
The strange cult appears to be using Voodoo and Obeah to create zombies, (or Vodou and Zombiis in the parlance of the book) and using the zombies to murder their opposition.
After reading a few of Preston and Child's solo works, you can almost get a feel for what they have contributed. The monster is probably Child's, the subplot of animal rights activists invading the Ville where the cult is holed up? Very reminisant the end of Blasphemy by Preston.
Again, it doesn't make for a bad book, but it does seem all too familiar. The Diogenes trilogy seems to be the creative height of the series and maybe that is where it should have stopped. But the end of course leaves more Pendergast stories on tap, likely including his psychotic family.
And just like every other summer, I'll be right there day it comes out......more info
- Powerful & Chilling
I wish I could read slower - but these books gin up your blood, and if you dare put the book down it calls you back. Another Pendergast book that is unequalled. How do two men write such great stories TOGETHER? This book has more twists and turns, right up until the end, then the Ville itself. And at the end we are treated with a tidbit to let us know that another Pendergast and maybe another Nora is in the works. Don't pass this up. These writers will keep you up at night....more info
- Better than Wheel of Darkness
I agree with some of the other reviewers that have pointed out that the Pendergast books have slipped of late. I really want to love these books becuase I really enjoy Agent Pendergast, at least the Agent Pendergast of the early novels. While this book is vastly better than "Wheel of Darkness," which left me scratching my head wondering what the heck I'd just read, it does feel like a bit of a retread. Not much difference, to my mind, between a "beast" created by rare Amazonaian drugs a la "Relic" and a "creature" created by...well, I won't spoil for those who haven't read. I, too, would like to know more about the Pendergast family history and do hope that the ending of "Cemetery Dance" does mean that is what we have in store for us next. ...more info
this is just so not his ususal written book. I usually run out to buy anything he writes time it is released. Sorry I bought this one....more info
- Cemetery Dance - Predictable from the 1st chapter
I waited patiently for over one year for P&C to release the next Pendergast installment. I have enjoyed every one of them, and rated them all 5 stars. Well, I haven't even finished reading Cemetery Dance, and I've got to write a review. After reading 120 pages, I don't know if I'll finish it. It's predictable and just downright silly. There is no mystery, no build up. They blew it in the first chapter. Maybe P&C felt forced to write it. If they decide to write another Pendergast novel, I hope they put more thought and time into it. This falls flat as a pankcake. ...more info
- A Welcome Return to Form
I am pleased to report that the latest Pendergast adventure from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is their best novel since Brimstone. Meticulously researched and executed, Cemetery Dance is a pleasure to read.
Here's hoping their next novel arrives sooner than this one did. It was, however, well worth the wait. Please keep them coming!...more info
- Just couldn't get past the first murder....
As an avid fan of Preston and Child and their esoteric hero, Aloysius Pendergast, I eagerly awaited the publication of this latest installment. I purchased it the day it arrived in bookstores, took a little less than a week to finish it, and I have to say I was very disappointed. I think a big part of this was the grief I felt over the opening-chapter death of William Smithback, a major character in the Pendergast novels and a breath of fresh air amongst the stuffy academics and pompous beaurocrats that wander through the books. I really believe that I was convinced that some "hoodoo" would be conjured at some point, and the wild-haired reporter would be back among the living (and with the incredible plot of the book, that could certainly have been a possibility). All in all, Smithback's death cast a shadow over the book that made everything else seem a little unimportant
Even all this aside, the book, for me, was lacking in a number of departments that have made P&C's books so enjoyable- characterization and plot development being the most notable that come to mind. It seemed as if the main characters- D'Agosta, Laura Hayward, Proctor, and even Pendergast- were just going through the motions, scowling, and doing what they needed to do to get to the next scene. There was no sense of motive or drive behind any of them. P&C do make a feeble attempt to plumb Nora Kelly's grief over her husband's murder, but this even comes up short and she is reduced to being a damsel in distress for most of the book.
As for the plot, P&C are, as usual, right on target with the pacing and tension that keeps one turning the pages, but the payoff in the end is, well, pretty lame. When the reader finally does learn who the perp is, the knowledge is stretched thin around what should be an elegant mix of exotic plot elements and the promise of (what could have been) a knockout of an ending.
Don't get me wrong- a new Pendergast novel is always a treat, but this one is, I feel, the weakest one in the entire series. Every now and then, you can discern some of the masterwork that works so well in Reliquary or Cabinet of Curiosities (the latter is, in my opinion, the best of the series), but these moments are few and far between. Very disappointing.
- Big Disapointment
I eagerly awaited this latest from two of my favorite authors but found it very disapointing. This was obviously a rushed job, using the same plot twist at the end of every other chapter. How often can a main character "fade into darkness" at the end of a chapter and it not be dramatic or even eventful? I got to the point where I didn't even read the book, just skimmed for the plot twists. It was tiring....more info
- Always worth the wait!
I always judge these books by how annoyed I am when I have to put them down to go about my daily activities. I was really upset when I had to take a break from this one. Fun, creepy and a quick (maybe too quick) read!...more info
- The City that "Almost" Never Sleeps
After last year's mediocre "Wheel of Darkness", the only slightly improved "Cemetery Dance" makes one wonder if the Preston/Child team is running out of fresh material, and if the enigmatic Special Agent Pendergast shouldn't consider returning to the FBI to actually work on one of their cases for a change.
This ninth installment of the Pendergast series, starting with the classic "Relic", gets out of the blocks fast enough with the brutal and somewhat surprising murder of New York Times reporter Bill Smithback, a stalwart of the series. In a novel twist, all indications point to Colin Fearing as the perp, but there is a major problem: Fearing died and was buried nearly two weeks before Smithback's tragic demise. So with themes of Voodoo and Santeria mixing with possible Zombie sightings, and mercifully no sightings of the annoying Constance Green who nearly single-handedly sunk "Wheel of Darkness", this one was shaping up to be a classic Preston/Childs escapist yarn of loose science and tight thrills. But by about the mid-point, the action starting slowing under what felt like the weight of a bored cast - Nora Kelly's pining for Bill and Lieutenant D'Agosta moping around under the nagging of pretty much the rest of the players did a pretty good job of sucking a lot of energy from the score. It was almost to the point of having to remember that the bored and listless main characters actually weren't the shambling dead. But most apparent was a subdued and sub-par performance from Pendergast, showing only brief glimpses of the aplomb and panache that have made him such a unique and mysterious protagonist of pop fiction. Pendergast, like the authors, seemed to be going through the motions on this one, mostly muddling through an otherwise interesting storyline including a fascinating - if fictional - community in the very real primeval woods of northern Manhattan's Inman Hill Park.
But don't get me wrong - this is certainly not this talented pair's worst effort, and it definitely has its moments, and the sights and scenes of Manhattan are as usual spot on. But in the end, the uninspired characters and uneven pacing take a couple of stars away from some decent summer entertainment that could have gone further.
- I am so conflicted on this review
I've read everything by P&C, together and individually (excepting Terminal Freeze, which is next on my list). Love them, in general, but am increasingly unsatisfied since I discovered them.
From a plot standpoint, this is better than the last Pendergast installment. I love the way P&C make me wonder how the supernatural stuff fits with the police work.
From a readability standpoint, the pacing seemed off and there was never any real sense of tension. The payoff or "reveal" at the end was good and did not leave me with the all-too-frequent feeling of plot holes everywhere, but it was way too short and unsatisfying in its delivery compared to the length of the book and the number of very dull chapters. Cut some of the formula stuff and tell me more about Kline (for example)!! Agree with the reviewer below who said it was "tiresome," but I'm not marking it down quite so far because it is an interesting book.
I can't blame the actual writing; it was tight as ever for these guys. You can love or hate the manipulation of language to develop characters (D'Agosta "climbs" into a car, while Pendergast always "slips" in); I like it. But Pendergast was not nearly as interesting in this book as in others, in my opinion, but it might be my expectations as much as anything.
Too many headblows.
Did Pendergast jump the shark with the gratuitous Iphone reference, or am I just getting too old for this genre? I couldn't believe it. Why? Product placement?
The bad guy had a Blackberry.
I have been waiting for this book for quite some time. I have been a longtime fan of P&C and this latest addition to my shelf, the one dedicated to them, didnt dissapoint. While I was sad at the loss of Smithback it really opens up alot of possibilities for another novel with Nora. I am not going to talk about much of the plot, except that going down the mysterious Oubeah and Voudoo road was sheer genius. I love it when Pendergast can pull from his New Orleans background to figure out something. It just adds to the mystique that is Pendergast. I too would like to go back into his past more - maybe a prequel that tells us what brought him to the point we met him in Relic. Going deeper into his New Orleans childhood would be very interesting. He has certainly exposed us to some intriguing characters in his family.
This is a MUST read! Dont hesitate to get this book and dive right in!
The only thing that saddens me is now I have to wait for the next book....more info
- Could Be So Much More... And Should Be.
I bought this book on preorder because I love the Preston/Child series, even though I have been let down recently with them. This book could have been much better than it turned out to be, and frankly should have been.
The power Douglas and Lincoln have in their creativity lies in creating monsters that are fearsome, terrible, and very believable, and in the end grounded in some kind of scientific fact (or fictional psudofact that works in the plotline). This book really had none of that. To me the storyline plodded along to a very predictable end with little or no real involvement on the part of the central characters.
Pendergast really did nothing but "slip in" and out of chairs, look at things with his silvery eyes, and stash things in his pockets. D'Agosta was angry and frustrated until he was not angry anymore. There was a lack of depth that I did not appreciate. I had been getting a little irritated with the Superman aspect of Pendergast, and maybe the authors were trying to tone that back a bit. If that is the case they did so at the cost of the fullnes of the story.
There is an endpaper in the book written by the duo listing all their collaborative efforts and suggesting the sequence they should be read in (while denying all the while they are doing so). I think it is time for Messers. Preston and Child to divorce themselves from their fan base long enough to put compelling characters in a compelling horror story again. I know they can do it. Both are seasoned and accomplished talents.
It had a few minor frights, but the rest was stock in trade chase scenesm a riot, a clash with a pushy martinet or two, and then it was over.
And hey: no Constance Green.
I am sure to buy the next one because these fellas always have potential. On second thought, perhaps I'll get on the library waiting list and see how they improve.
Better luck for all of us next time....more info
- Back in the groove
I have read all the Pendergast novels. The last one was a bit of a dissapointment but I think Preston/Childs are back in their old groove with Cemetary Dance. Reading it is like sinking back in a very soft easy chair, a comfortable place and space with characters that have become old friends over time. A page turner, fun and a bit scary. ...more info
- Obeah and Voudou and Zombiis, OH MY!
To be honest, I didn't heart Wheel of Darkness, though Preston/Child at their worst is still better than just about anybody else.
Cemetery Dance however, has all the elements I've loved from the previous Pendergast books--creepy atmosphere, an assortment of lively (no pun intended) characters on both sides of the good/evil scale, high body count and what P and C do SO well, a supernatural edge.
It's difficult to review this book without spoilers, but I'll do my best. One of my all time favorite characters is killed off in the first chapter--or is he? A mysterious settlement called the Ville on the tip of Manhattan is one of the settings, and bodies disappear and reappear with regularity. Pendergast rises to the occasion, consulting with Aunt Cordelia and his childhood tutor (a wonderful character evocative of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams). D'Agosta is at his hardboiled best, battling Department politics as well as denizens of the dark. The denoument is appropriately frightening and Cemetery Dance is a most satisfactory addition to the Pendergast canon. Loved it!...more info