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The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas…
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The Cabinet of Curiosities (original 2002; edition 2012)

by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

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2,780672,108 (3.98)99
Member:bethwerkhoven5104
Title:The Cabinet of Curiosities
Authors:Douglas Preston
Other authors:Lincoln Child
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston (2002)

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    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Similar in feel and approach, an excellent mystery novel.
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    Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston (LisatheLibrarian)
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English (61)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
An otherwise excellent novel ended up plagued by a horrendous repetition of words within the last hundred pages. Everything the characters did was described by the authors as either "slowly" or "abruptly." I actually wanted to stop reading, the overused adverbs became so bad. Either the editor became tired toward the end, or the authors were allowed to edit their own book. This saddened me a great deal, as I really loved the twisty, turn-y plot Lincoln and Child developed.

If you follow my reviews, you know I don't regurgitate plots. That's what the synopsis on the book is for. So we'll move along.

Before starting The Cabinet of Curiosities, I read Relic, and it's sequel, Reliquary. You can find my reviews posted here on Goodreads. This book far surpasses those two novels in pace and character development. Never bored, I plowed through this book in only five days. I really didn't want to put it down, but real life does tend to interfere, and me needs my beauty sleep, fool! Special Agent Pendergast's character is finally delved into. He's no longer the obtuse, mysterious FBI agent. His past comes into play all throughout this compelling novel. I can't wait to read the next in the series, Still Life with Crows. It will be nice to finally get out of New York City, where Relic, Reliquary and this book took place. Needing a little variety in my schedule, I won't be starting Still Life with Crows right away. I have an ARC from a friend of mine I need to read ASAP, then I want to tackle Lawrence Block's When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes and Fluke, by Christopher Moore.

Until next time,

E. ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
Bones are discovered on a construction site. In total 36 bodies are found, the were mutilated more than a 100 years ago.

After the discovery of the bones, similar murders are happening in the streets of New York. Is there a copycat on the loose or the murderer from a 130 years ago still alive?

Agent Pendagast is back for a third time. D'Agosta and Margo Green are gone so he gets the help of Nora Kelly, a archeologist working for the Museum. The story still takes place in New York and also back is Bill Smithback, the journalist looking for his Pulitzer prize and is also Nora's boyfriend. A new character is also in the mix, Patrick O'Shaunessy, a cop who a couple of years ago was accused of taking a bribe and now his boss is making him work with Pendagast as a punishment.


This suspense, horror, fantasy book is great. Pendagast is such a great character, intriguing, weird and who has a few tricks on his sleeve. Smithback is your typical journalist but tends to put his ffot in his mouth a little too often and gets to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For me they are both the main reasons the books works. They both bring the serious, emotional and funny side that makes the book a joy to read.

They are some parts that are far-fetched more on the fantasy side so be prepared that it's part of the charm the authors bring to this novel.

This book can be read as a stand alone since the references from the two previous book are so minimal that you don't really miss anything that makes you wonder what they are talking about.

Great thrilling, suspense book. 4.5 stars. ( )
  dom76 | Feb 4, 2015 |
"The Cabinet of Curiosities" is an exceptional read and an intelligent literary accomplishment.

In New York, a tunnel at a construction site leads to a storage area where there are the bones of thirty-six people.

Nora Kelly a museum archaeologist at the New York Museum of Natural History is asked to use her expertise to help learn the time when the bodies were placed in this area. She tells officials that the bodies date back to 130 years prior by an unknown serial killer.

Special Agent Pendergast and Dr. Kelly work together to learn more. The construction site was the area where a costly building project was underway and access to the site is denied as construction continues.

Kelly and Pendergast are assisted by a sergeant of the New York Police Department named O'Shaughnessy and Kelly's on again off again boyfriend, reporter William Smithback, Jr.

Gradually, the investigators look at historical records from the Museum and other reference areas. They learn of the serial killer was creating a cabinet of curiosities where unusual items were placed for personal or public interest. As the investigation leads to a mysterious doctor in the past, a copy-cat killer begins killing people in New York. This killer is dubbed "The Surgeon" by news media.

The story is cleverly penned with most unusual and interesting characters. Agent Pendergast likes to investigate unusual cases. He also has the ability to go back in time to get more facts to aid with the case he's working on. Bill and Nora have been seeing each other and seem just about to move in together when complications in this case get in the way.

A further complication is that Nora's boss, Roger Brisbane, is a controlling person who is trying to cut costs at the Museum and doesn't want Dr. Kelly taking on pro-bono work with the FBI.

There are numerous plot twists and we read the novel as if were were trying to fill in the answers to a "New York Times Sunday Puzzle" The action begins slowly but builds up with lightening speed so the concluding moments pass by quickly and in a suspenseful manner.” ( )
  mikedraper | Dec 6, 2014 |
Complete crap. This book was way too long and Pendergast is a boring Mary Sue. By the end when he was cauterizing wounds while translating Greek I was ready to throw the book across the room. ( )
  PaulDW | Oct 14, 2014 |
After a horrible discovery of a XIX century churnel house made by construction workers, people start dying. The manner of these recent deaths is the same as the old murders, so the press gave the killer a name - The Surgeon. Considering how weird all this is, it is no wonder Pendergast gets involved. There is a lot of him in this book.

I have a feeling this book tried to cram as much as incompetent and corrupt people as it it possible. It certainly wins the prize so far. The first two had their own bureaucrats and jerks, but here it is a whole new level of ass-kissing, ruining other people or harassing normal ones. I am not satisfied how that played out. I cannot write more about it or I'll ruin the part of the story.

I don't have to write about how I love Pendergast either. If he was a bit of omniscient before, here he gets another, more human layer to his personality. We are allowed to see just how much human he is. His part in all this was great, albeit still insufficient for me to be satisfied. Still, the manner we get more, but still not enough, information about him is a good way to keep readers interested.

Of the three people involved in previous cases, only the journalist remained. I wish he too left somewhere. Authors usually reserve TSTL moments for their female characters. Here, I am happy (or unhappy as the case may be) to report Smithback could give those heroines run for their money. God, he was so stupid he almost ruined the story. There wasn't a single thing he did here to make me even like, let alone love him. He acted childish and selfish and even if he had those 'qualities' before, here they are more pronounced.
The second person Pendergast enlists to help him is an archaeologist Nora Kelly, Smithback's girlfriend. The authors can't show the chemistry between the characters, so we get quite a few sentences telling us how he loves her. I don't mind romantic angle to a story. I like it even, but here it was out of place. She could have been just an archaeologist who just met them and it would still be the same story. And she wasn't really likeable either. The first part of the story she is wining about her job, then she gets angry for whatever reason. Margo Green and D'Acosta, they are not. Anyway, it isn't that pronounced to mess up the story.

The too long meditation that looks like time travel or a vivid dream would work in a film, but here they threw me in something that seemed like a different story. That, and one time it was even unbelievable considering the place the characters doing it were in.

Parts of this story were too hard to read. The suffering and the waiting were dragged a bit. I still enjoyed it though and would recommend this series to anyone who likes a thriller seasoned with weirdness. ( )
1 vote Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Preston, Douglasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Child, Lincolnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Auberjonois, RenéNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cappi, Andrea CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marjamäki, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child dedicate this book to the teachers, professors, and librarians of America, most especially those who have made a difference in our own lives.
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Pee-Wee Boxer surveyed the jobsite with disgust.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446611239, Mass Market Paperback)

In an ancient tunnel underneath New York City a charnel house is discovered. Inside are thirty-six bodies all murdered and mutilated more than a century ago. While FBI agent Pendergast investigates the old crimes, identical killings start to terrorize the city. The nightmare has begun. Again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:05 -0400)

FBI agent Pendergast and archaeologist Nora Kelly join forces to stop a vicious murderer when the discovery of the remains of thirty-six victims of a nineteenth-century killer apparently sets off a new series of similar killings.

(summary from another edition)

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