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Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Relic

RelicTitle: Relic
Authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Page Count: 480 pages
Publisher: Tor
Genre: horror, science fiction/mystery
Copy for review compliments of the public library

50 words or less:  This is one for the beach- a doomed expedition, horrific monsters, creepy detectives, conspiracy, drama, all set against the drama of a natural history museum.  And the twist at the end? Boy howdy.

This one is a blast from the past, with an original publication date of 1995, and is the first in the series of books starring FBI Special Agent Pendergast.  He doesn't appear on the scene in this book until almost halfway through the book, but in the meantime, there's all sorts of set up and all sorts of intrigue.  Not too mention bloody, bloody guts, so if that kind of thing is a problem for you then definitely stop reading.

The whole sordid story starts with a doomed expedition trying to claw its way out of the Amazon.  They've found artifacts that serve as evidence of what everyone had assumed was a lost civilization, and in the midst of trying to ship them back to the Museum of Natural History, the whole expedition dies, either in the jungle under mysterious circumstances, or in a plane crash shortly thereafter.  The crates of artifacts make their way to the museum, ultimately, and from there all hell breaks loose.

Visitors are being murdered in the museum, but by what, and for what reason, remains a mystery.  Staff fear for their safety; visitors are way down; the museum has to figure out how it's going to recover from the publicity nightmare.  Things just go from bad to more bad to worse to even worse, and as the bodies pile up, the weirdness increases.

This is the kind of book that sucks you in and doesn't let go, but leaves you fully able to move on once the story is finished.  It's the consummate beach book- lots of details and the plot moves along quickly, and plenty of uppity people are given their due by Detective Pendergast.  Suspension of disbelief is a must, but despite the zaniness, the ending is satisfying- and the ground is laid for the next book.

Relic is definitely off the path of UF/PNR that I normally tread, but it was precisely the right fit for a day at the beach.  I haven't visited this series in awhile (and- brace yourself for this one- I'm behind in this series too) but revisiting Relic was fun.

Overall Grade: B
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