The Cabinet of Curiosities, a novel by Preston&Child (2002)

If there is one thing I like in a novel, it’s when it completely makes you forget your surroundings or causes you to lose track of time. That is one of the highest levels of praise a book can receive, and if it manages to do that in some way, it is usually because it was written by an author that is an expert. And is also very skilled in torture. Huh? Torture? Well yes of course. Don’t you just hate it when you decided to read one more chapter before turning to sleep and end up reading five more because you just have to find out what happened to a certain character? That you just can’t stop, because if you do you feel like your mind just can’t take it anymore? Hence the torture part. I had previously read two other novels by Preston and Childs, The Relic and Reliquary, and they both featured a character that some describe as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. I’m talking about FBI Special Agent Pendergast, but I honestly don’t really see him like that. But more on that below. This third Pendergast novel though, takes you on a relentless rollercoaster ride, that doesn’t let up until you reach the final page. Not that the previous two novels weren’t good or anything, but this one takes things to a whole other level of excitement.

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The Cabinet of Curiosities starts off on a construction site in Manhattan where a ghastly discovery is made. A tunnel is unearthed that contains the mutilated bodies of 36 young people. All of the remains had parts of their spine remove. It is not before long that agent Pendergast arrives at the grissly scene together with Dr. Nora Kelly, an archeologist who works at the Museum of Natural History. She is very relucant at first to help him, as she finds the pale man a very strange and peculiar individual. Soon though her own curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins to try and discover the truth about what really happened. It soon becomes clear that all of the people have been murdered in a horrifying way almost 130 years ago. What the exact motive was of the killer is at first unclear. But the case becomes even more terrifying when it seems that the murders are starting up again. This has to be a copycat killer though right? With the police and the mayor trying to thwart Pendergast at every turn because of ulterior motives, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him and Kelly to solve the case. In the meantime the killings continue…..

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This was a book that I would like to call a real pageturner. It’s been quite a while since I have read a novel that had me gasping for breath at almost every page. But this one managed to achieve that, and then some. The writing style of Preston & Child is terrific. They manage to describe their scenes in a very vivid way, and crank up the tension to an almost unbearable level. Which is exactly how I like my books. No matter how great your story is, if you have characters that you don’t care about in any way, you will probably lose your audience. But the writer duo has you covered there as well, as it contains quite a number of indivuals that you will grow to love (as well as hate, for a few of them are pretty despicable indeed). But it’s agent Pendergast that is the driving force of this book, more so than in the previous installments. I’d like to think of him as kind of mix between Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer. He is mysterious, resourceful, tough as nails, while at the same time he has a very big heart that people might not notice right away.

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If I were to name some negative points to this books, it’s the use of quite a number of pretty difficult medical and forensic terms. My grasp of the English language is quite good, but there were a few times where I struggled to understand the meaning of certain terms. But luckily this never managed to put me off in any way, as the story is just too good for that. This novel can be read without having knowledge of the events of the earlier two books, although you will probably enjoy it even more if you have read those. If you like tense and gripping thrillers about serial killers, with a slightly supernatural edge to it, this is one book you should check out ASAP. It’s guaranteed to cause you some sleepless nights (in fact I dare you not to complete this one in one day: it really is that good). In closing I would like to dedicate this review to the wonderfulΒ Kim. She is truly an amazing individual who is someone that has always managed to inspire me with the posts she writes. Kind, positive and always there for other people are some of the qualities that describe her best. Go and check out her wonderful blog about the world of the written word. I promise you won’t regret doing so. As always, thank you for reading.

I give The Cabinet of Curiosities a 9 out of 10 score.

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24 thoughts on “The Cabinet of Curiosities, a novel by Preston&Child (2002)”

  1. This series sounds great!! From the name of the novel I expected something a little more YA, but then when they started finding dead young people with their spines missing I though “Hm, maybe a little more gruesome than YA?” I’ll have to add the 1st one to my TBR! Also, I agree. Kim is wonderful. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha lol πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Well as Kim already said this is definitely not YA material…unless they suddenly did something to that genre that I am not aware of lol πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But what is though is a great tension filled and gripping novel that I guarantee you wont’ be able to put down.
      As for Kim…she totally is 😊😊

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  2. I’ve never read anything by these authors, mostly because there are SO many books and I never knew where to begin, that is until now, mwahaha. Thank you for sharing this!! I’ll have to hunt down a copy. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can definitely understand that. There are a lot of books in this series now, but I have always found Wikepedia to be a great source of where to begin and keep things in order. It’s a terrific novel, and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did 😊

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  3. Oh Wow! Thank you so much Michel! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book even though the medical terminology got to be a bit much. I like your comparison of Pendergast to Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer. I’m one of those readers who also sees some Sherlock in him as well because of his cool logical thinking and the way he pretty much stays unflappable no matter what’s happening. I hope you continue this series because it just keeps getting better and better. And again, thank you so much. You’ve truly made my day!πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very welcome Kim. I meant every word I wrote. I truly am very grateful that we met here in the blogging sphere and you have truly become an amazing friend 😊
      I’m definitely going to continue with the series. In fact I hope to order the next two books in the upcoming weekend, and it sounds terrific that it’s getting better and better (although I don’t know if my health and heart can handle that lol πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚).
      Have a great weekend Kim! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 😊 Haha, this certainly is a book that will do just that, and yes no denial here there is some grissly stuff in here…but it’s not the main focus of the book. It is a tense thriller though, no question about that 😊😊 Hope you will enjoy it when you get around to reading it πŸ˜€

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  4. Murder most foul, a creepy death tunnel, detectives chasing a killer and one of the characters are called Kelly. This book sounds awesome. I can definitely see why you couldn’t put it down. πŸ™‚
    Glad you enjoyed your book πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, yeah this book certainly managed to keep up more than I liked lol. And from what I have been told is that the rest of the series is only going to get better…hmm…who needs sleep anyway? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Thank you for your comment as always 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome review, sir. I haven’t read anything by the author but have always wanted to. I’ve heard great things from other trusted folks about Agent Pendergast’s adventures, including Kim, but it’s even better when you come in and confirm it all with this review. Love the sound of a mix between Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer too. That sounds hella epic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well according to Kim the series is only getting better (something I almost have trouble believing as this book was incredible ) But yes this is a series that I highly recommend, especially because of Pendergast…but even without him being in it, the story is very exciting and not to mention very tense 😊😊 Hope you will enjoy the books when you get around to reading them, and ofcourse thanks for your comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was. I am going to order the follow ups to this one soon, as I hear they are supposedly even better (which I find hard to believe lol).
      I hope you will find the book and enjoy it as much as I did (be prepared for sleepless nights though πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚).

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    1. Kim is amazing, and she is the one that urged me to read this novel, so I just had to dedicate the review to her. It’s a great book and I think you will love it 😊😊

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