This novel has all the necessary ingredients to satisfy the requirements of a page-turning thriller. Set in the massive New York Museum of Natural History, the element of horror around the gruesome and brutal killings has just the right atmospheric tone to make the narrative creepy enough without being too cheesy.
The story started with two separate Prologues that allude to the potential source of the mysterious murders in the museum. Introduction of the main characters did slow down the first quarter of the book to a certain extent before the investigation went full swing with the arrival of Agent Pendergast.
As far as characterisation goes, it is hard to avoid some form of tropes in this genre, which has an immense amount of published material. Aside from the titular character, we have a resourceful young researcher in training under a distinguished anthropologist and curator, the arrogant and smart-ass upstart, the disgruntled and outspoken journalist, the hard-bitten and competent lieutenant, and the museum administration who refuses to listen. Oh, and how can I forget the obnoxious FBI agent who struts in and imposes control over a situation which he doesn't understand.
Agent Pendergast has sufficiently intrigued me with his Holmes-like persona. A learned and eccentric Southerner with a refined and immaculate poise ever so lightly touched with a threatening presence, his eventual arrival to the museum was when the story becomes way more engaging.
Relic is a well-written book with tight pacing and a rather clever plot. While I view the story predictable, the suspense and action scenes towards the end of the book are quite intense. There is one thing about this genre, however, which I always find jarring and that is the typical exposition by soliloquy. Regardless, it does not by any measure reduce the entertainment value of the story, and I'll take it as the standard literary device in this genre.
More importantly, am I going to continue reading this series? Absolutely!