I am always amazed at the number of “new authors” that I discover and sometimes those new authors are not that new. The case in point has to do with Douglas Preston. Now I had heard the name but I’m not familiar with his works. It was only when I was having a conversation with my friend Deb that she mentioned that he was one of her favorite authors. This perplexed me because I certainly was unfamiliar with his books and so I decided to take a look at his bibliography. Oh my, was I behind the time! Douglas Preston has written over 50 books many of which he co-writes with Lincoln Child and yet for some reason I never got around to reading their books. This has certainly changed!
As I always do, I go back to the beginning and I started the very first book in the Aloysius Pendergast series “Relic.” This was a wonderfully thrilling book that began in 1987 in the Amazon with the discovery of an ancient relic. This relic somehow was transported to the New York Museum of Natural history where it remained crated for over a decade. When the museum decided to have an exhibition on Superstition the crate was unpacked and havoc was unleashed. Many people have compared the book to those of Michael Crichton, specifically the Jurassic Park books, and while there are no dinosaurs in this book, there is one very scary monster. After lying dormant for years it gets new life during the installation of the exhibit. Apparently the monster, and we have no real name for the monster, feeds upon a fibrous plant that is packed in the crates from the Amazon, but when those start to run out the next best source of its nourishment comes from the human brain! And the monster begins to start killing and eating people within the museum. Wow!
This is a fast-paced, fast read, book that you do not want to put down once you get started. The chapters are short, the action is constant and swings between FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, along with staff of the museum and specifically PhD candidate Margo Green. We also have a journalist involved who is writing a book about the exhibition and who has been stymied from writing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And we have a New York PD police Lieutenant, plus a host of other characters who are realistic and many of whom are just downright bad. Despite all the problems and all the murders at the museum, they decide to push ahead with the opening of this exhibition and when that happens the author ratchets up the suspense and drama. It doesn’t help that a monsoon like storm engulfs the city of New York, and that the mayor of the city is trapped inside the museum trying desperately to both calm the people he is with but also to be part of the group that is able to escape. This is a book in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Electronic systems collapse, the Wi-Fi fails and every back up system also collapses. Luckily we have Aloysius Pendergast who uses common sense as well as some luck to try to lead a group of over 30 people deep from within the bowels of the building into safety as well as figuring out how to kill the monster.
This was a very good read and even though it is written in the 1990s it is not dated, the characters are realistic, the plot is definitely one that will keep your attention and as I said once you get started in this book you do not want to put it down. I can only say that while I am sorry that I was unfamiliar with the works of Douglas Preston for all these years, I am more than happy that I’m going to be able to start bingeing all those books that he has written. For me this is a five star read and I’m sure that if you have never Preston’s books, you to will become a fan after reading Relic