oddmonster (oddmonster) wrote in bookish,

Review: Dance of Death, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

# 73: Dance of Death by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child:

D'Agosta followed Pendergast into Penn Station, which--disgracefully--consisted of little more than an escalator entrance in the shadow of Madison Square Garden. It was a quiet evening, a Tuesday of no consequence, and at such a late hour, the area was almost deserted, save for a few homeless people and a man passing out sheets of his poetry. The two rode the escalator down to the waiting area, then took another that descended still farther, to the track level.
Synopsis: I like this series! You know, it's exciting!

I couldn't resist. An unfortunate fondness for the movie "Labyrinth" has resulted in a Pavlovian response to any appearance of the word "dance"--

("You remind me of the babe."
"What babe?"
"The babe with the power!"
"What power?"
"The power of voodoo!"
"Who do?"
"You do!"
"Do what?"
"Remind me of the babe!")

that's just entirely inappropriate in settings that aren't watching that movie or stumbling on a treasure trove of deserted Muppets. But I digress.

Book six in the Agent Pendergast series, and Pendergast's evil brother, Diogenes, is putting into motion the plan he has had since a child, of pulling off a stupendous crime that will destroy Agent Pendergast in the process.

And that's pretty much all I can tell you about the book without spoiling some section of it.

I've never seen such tight plotting in my life. I gasped at the end of almost every chapter, because there were so many hairpin turns involved from start to finish that it was a) impossible to predict what would happen next, and b) a page-turningly good read. It's an immense rollercoaster of a book, where I could see Diogenes' evil plan coming together, foreshadowing some of the later events, but the majority of them still came as a surprise. That's darn good plotting.

Also, three cheers for Great-Aunt Cornelia.

This series, I've noticed, has a great deal of well-written, strong female characters, which I really like in anything I read, but is kind of odd in contrast with Child's solo Deep Storm, with the femme-fail I wrote about here. Laura Hayward's great, Margo Green's great, Nora Kelly is, if not great, then at least not making me want to strangle her, so at the very least, this ratio is well above the vast majority of books I read.

The other thing I noticed is that the authors eschew the well-trodden path of having their heroines toss their auburn-curls and flash their emerald green eyes (Clive Cussler and B B Haywood, I am looking at you two). Instead, they solve crimes, stand up for themselves and run parts of the Museum of Natural History, a place I was very very glad to see return to the series because it is a building full of magic.

And as for Diogenes himself, I am simply going to say that it's been far too long since I encountered a villain who quotes Buckaroo Bonzai...

Good book! Now go dance!

("What kind of ma-gic spell to use?"

Slime and snails or puppy dogs' tails?")

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