Friday, May 21, 2010

Fever Dream, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
May 2010
405 pp

Fever Dream falls under my own heading of "escape reading," meaning books that are highly improbable, fluffy or just something not serious for passing the time. I had another sleepless night last night and this book was handy.

Fever Dream  is the tenth book of the Agent Pendergast series. In this installment, Pendergast is visiting one of his many homes, this time in New Orleans, and comes across some evidence regarding his wife Helen's death twelve years earlier. As it turns out, the evidence suggests to Pendergast that his wife's demise was not accidental as he'd thought all of this time, but a deliberate and cold-blooded murder.  Pendergast realizes that he needs help and enlists the services of  Vincent D'Agosta, a lieutenant of the NYPD and past associate.  As he investigates why someone would want her killed, he begins to uncover things about Helen that he never knew, leading him to wonder just who was this woman he married. But as Pendergast and D'Agosta get close to the truth, there are those who don't want them to find it, and they find their lives in danger. 

Since the end of the so-called Diogenes trilogy (Brimstone, Dance of Death and The Book of the Dead), the quality of the Pendergast adventures has gone a bit downhill. Wheel of Darkness I could have done without, and Cemetery Dance was much better than its predecessor but still not the same old Pendergast. The same holds true for Fever Dream.  The descriptions of place are well written (there's one scene describing an abandoned family home that was downright creepy) and how the authors get Pendergast in and out of some very sticky spots are fun to read. However, Preston and Child seem to be stretching on this one (missing paintings, parrots, etc.,) and then there's Constance Green, Pendergast's ward, who has returned from Tibet.  Why she was even written into this story is a mystery unto itself --she plays absolutely no part of the investigation; she just takes up space.

While the book was overall a fun read and a good way to spend a few hours, I think the authors could have done much better. Maybe they should go back and reread their earlier Pendergast novels to find out why their readers got hooked on this character in the first place.  

I would recommend this novel for those already fans of Pendergast; don't make this one the first of the series that you read.  The authors are slowly getting back on the right track, but they're not there yet.  However, when the next book in the series is announced, I know I'll be right there, with my finger on the "preorder" button. For some reason I can't resist.


  1. I tweeted!

    Thanks for joining-

  2. Well, I enjoy a bit of escape reading sometimes, and this sounds like a good prospect.

    Jennifer Perry

  3. Nice review..haven't read any of of these books..but have alot of people like them!!

  4. Jennifer: it's fun, but do start with the first one because Pendergast has a long history, as his fans will tell you!

  5. Alison
    Thanks for coming by - the series is definitely different and unlike any other.


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