I do love the Pendergast books. I love the way Rene Auberjonois reads the characters, I love the Holmesian way Pendergast deduces important from minute details.
Then there’s this book. So much of this book had me rolling my eyes.
Let me start by saying, YES WE KNOW THE HOUSE IS 891 RIVERSIDE DRivE
(view spoiler)[First let’s take Constance (“his ward”/assistant) out of her comfort zone to a New England town where they are just as judgy if not more so of outsiders. Don’t encourage her to blend in, let her wear clothes that make her look like a refugee from Battle of New Orleans re-enactment. Don’t teach her how to drive the fancy car, insist she depend on the kindness of others, teach her nothing of the modern world so she will never be a proper skilled investigator.
Then let’s antagonize the local constabulary because it’s fun. I guess on the drive from NY to MA they couldn’t think of a better way to make introductions.
Next let’s never hire an editor because listening to information dumps and villainous monologuing is exactly how people want to spend time. This is book #15 – I expect so much better from Preston and Child.
Also, let’s make Pendergast an insufferable dick. While I understand the kinship to Sherlock Holmes and his methodology is very much in line with his lifestyle, the last wo books have shown him to not only be inflexible, but downright cruel. For all of his knowledge of anthropology and forensic science, he can’t use a computer. This bothers me. I’d think he’d pick up the computer sciences quickly and have his very own super computer by now.
But no. He has Constance.
Further, every character has something to say – EVERY CHARACTER – so there’s seriously no mystery. Never worry what someone is thinking because you will find out in about 20 pages.
12 hours of this.
Finally, let’s hide another story behind the main story because both are too weak to stand on their own. The book’s description, “a terrible evil lurks beneath the surface of this sleepy seaside town” -except we won’t tell you about it until the 8-hour mark.
Frankly everyone in the first three-quarters is a red herring, and in the last quarter, we get this diatribe about witches and demons, and it’s so, so terribly wrong. I really hate that. I’m all about fictionalizing cultures and religions for the sake of imagination, but this was just pandering for fear’s sake.
I expect better.
I despised Corrie Swanson and I equally despise Constance Green and I can only blame the writers who don’t know how to write women that don’t have the crutches of their personalities always getting them into trouble. Corrie will always have a temper (because women are hot blooded) and it will likely keep her job hunting, and Constance will always be regulated to researcher because – well, I don’t know what her problem is.
The next book, The Obsidian Chamber, will be out in October, so this book was a 12-hour prequel that could have been so much less and so much better.
However – when comparing the Epilogue of Crimson Shore and the First Chapter of Obsidian Chamber, you can already see differences – serious differences. You can’t even copy/past chapters from one book to another?
I’m not feeling very good about #16. At. All. (hide spoiler)]