It’s Saturday morning and that means it’s time for a new Weekend Book Pick. After last week’s vampire novel, we’re going in the opposite direction with a murder mystery. So, let’s get down to it!
The Choice: Relic (1995) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
You’ll like this if: You’re a fan of Jurassic Park.
What it’s about: Two young boys are found dead in the basement of the New York Museum of Natural History just days before the opening of the new “Superstition” exhibit. A string of murders follow, all with the same brutal MO: the back of the skull is bashed in and the victims’ brains are pulled out through the hole. Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta hunts for the killer with the help of a Sherlock Holmes-esque FBI agent by the name of Aloysius Pendergast. As the exhibit opening draws closer, the two investigators must find a way to stop the killer before he goes on a murderous rampage among New York’s elite. But how do you catch a killer who’s not quite human?
Why you should read it: Relic is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. As a huge Jurassic Park fan (of both the book and the movie), I’ve always had a taste for monster books. To me, there’s nothing scarier than facing off against a creature hell-bent on killing you. Relic plays on the Jaws variety of scares – you don’t see the monster for a very, very long time, but it makes the novel that much more terrifying.
Moreover, Preston and Child are not remotely merciful. The two boys at the beginning are brutally slain and their corpses are described in gory detail. Indeed, Relic is not for the faint of heart. Still, don’t you hate it when you feel like there’s no threat in a novel? Like the good guys will definitely make it out alive? Well, in Relic anybody and everybody can die at any time. The horror factor of Relic is also helped along by the fact that one of the authors worked in the Museum of Natural History. This makes the level of detail surrounding the basement areas absolutely frightening. (I’m still scared to set foot in this particular museum.) And, if you’re like me and enjoyed the genetics aspect of Jurassic Park (Biology majors, unite!), then you’ll find Relic’s scientific side to be interesting. (But don’t worry, it doesn’t slow down the novel in the least.)
So, if you loved reading and/or watching Lex and Tim hide from the raptors in the kitchen, the third act of Relic will be a thrill ride for you. When you’re done, check out Preston and Child’s entire series of Pendergast novels, including the Relic sequel Reliquary.