Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

20 September, 2010

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child‘s mysteries featuring FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast is one of my favourite mystery series. Although set in modern day New York, there is an old world feel reminiscent of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes or Caleb Carr’s Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. But there is also a bit of the X-Files about it too. I like.

Cemetery Dance is the latest offering coming soon after the events in The Wheel of Darkness in which Agent Pendergast travels to deepest Tibet with his ward Constance Greene, traumatised after her near brush with death. The Wheel of Darkness comes just after the conclusion of a story arc featuring Pendergast’s diabolical brother Diogenes (Brimstone, Dance of Death, The Book of the Dead called the Diogenes trilogy and which should be read in order) but Cemetery Dance can be read as a standalone. I like reading things in orders so I would recommend you go and check out Relic, the first of Preston & Child’s novels featuring Agent Pendergast and Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta just so you can slowly appreciate what makes him so fascinating.

In Cemetery Dance, journalist William Smithback and his wife Nora are savagely attacked on their wedding anniversary. D’Agosta and Pendergast must find out who or what perpetrated the crime, especially since the assailant is someone who has apparently killed himself two weeks earlier. As the case becomes increasingly stranger, Pendergast must turn to his encyclopedic knowledge of the rituals of voodoo and Obeah to catch the cunning perpetrator who seems to have risen from the dead.

Like the other books in the series, I really enjoyed reading this one, but it felt slightly less thrilling after the rollercoaster ride that was the Diogenes trilogy. I did learn quite a bit of the dark arts of the Bayou, and Agent Pendergast was as stylishly brilliant as usual, but I thought it could have been fleshed out a little more. However, I have no quibbles regarding the style and prose, it’s slick, easy to read and well written. The contrast between the easy, confident style of Pendergast and the brash yet heartfelt D’Agosta, struggling within the police hierarchy and mourning the loss of his friend, was nicely balanced. I don’t know why, but you can’t help caring for these characters.

I am now eagerly awaiting their next installment, Fever Dream, where Agent Pendergast will be uncovering the the mystery behind the tragic death of his wife Helen many years ago. What he had thought was an accident no longer seems so. Can. Not. Wait.

I read this for the Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010 and R.I.P. V Challenge.

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9 Responses to “Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child”

  1. S. Krishna Says:

    I skimmed this review because I haven’t read this series yet! It’s one of those I’ve been wanting to start forever and just haven’t gotten around to. One day!

  2. amymckie Says:

    I don’t read many murder mysteries, but I do end up enjoying most of the ones I read, so maybe I’ll have to check out one of these books.

  3. Kailana Says:

    I have been meaning to read these authors forever and still haven’t managed to do so. One of these days I really must!


  4. I’ve never heard of these authors or these books, which surprises me as I am quite the mystery/thriller fan. More to add to my groaning TBR pile 😉

  5. Yvette Says:

    Haven’t read this one yet, but it is definitely on my TBR list. I see you’re reading THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mieville. I LOVED this book! We had a good bookclub discussion on it over at author Laurie R. King’s Virtual Bookclub a few weeks ago.

  6. Kelly Says:

    This sounds interesting and is a series I’m not familiar with.

    Discovering new books and authors is the wonderful thing (or perhaps curse?) of visiting book blogs! I wish I read more quickly than I do, but alas…my TBR stack will always be larger than life!

  7. chasing bawa Says:

    S.Krishna: Oh, I hope you get to it soon. I tried not to give away anything in the review because I always want people to start from the beginning of the series!

    amymckie: It’s actually one of the few series that I’ve actually learned quite a lot from regarding Native American culture, Tibet, New Orleans etc. So I hope you’ll try it one day.

    Kailana: You must!

    The Book Whisperer: I actually came upon The Cabinet of Curiosities (the 3rd book) by chance at my local library. I couldn’t possibly ignore a book with such a title and was really surprised at how much I liked it.

    Yvette: I loved The City & The City and still want to read more! I think I may have to check out the discussion because I have so many questions!

    Kelly: I can’t seem to keep up with my TBR stack as well. I keep making resolutions not to buy anymore but it’s not really working;P

  8. Melissa Says:

    I am actually surprised to see how many people in the comments above had not event heard of Preston and Child. Curious if any of you have since picked up any of these novels? I personally am a huge fan and have read almost all of them, working on Cold Vengeance right now. Thanks for the post, and to anyone that is still only considering pick up these books, do it! Melissa – TheNovelSphere.com

    • sakura Says:

      I know, I’m perplexed as to why I don’t see many reviews of their books so make sure I write about them. I really love their work and the nuggets of information you find as you read their mysteries.


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