Seeing updates of this book popping up in my feed recently was a good reminder that I've been intending to continue with this series. Reliquary is the sequel to Relic with the same cast of main characters who survived the horrors at the Museum of Natural History, after a time-gap of about eighteen months.
I find that it is not easy writing reviews for thriller novels. The enjoyment is always in not knowing much about the book in the first place. So if you want to know about the plot, you'll not find it here. All I can say is that if you have read Relic and its Epilogue, the mystery is not so mysterious after all. As for the plot, it is predictable but entertaining. This is a series about Agent Pendergast, so you know he is going to survive, right? And he better damn well does as I really enjoyed the Pendergast character. He is eccentric, learned, calm and competent. Despite his strangeness, this Southern gentleman is not to be trifled with. I love how he exudes this threatening presence without ever needing to raise his voice or point a gun at his intended target.
This is not to say that the other main, and even supporting, characters are shabby too, each having a distinct personality suited to their respective role within the story. I have to admit that there are some typical annoying individuals that always seem to appear in these stories. You know, the incompetent police captain who does nothing but whine and always try to either claim glory or blame others to his advantage or the chief who is more concerned of his political standing over doing what is right. Characters like these are the one cliche that I could seriously do without as they infuriate me to no end. Notwithstanding, the fact that I want some individuals to live and some others to die a less than peaceful death only shows that the book is thoroughly engaging me.
Reliquary takes the story out of the Museum of Natural History into the underground tunnels of New York City; from one atmospheric and creepy location to another setting that is even more sinister. The real history of NYC has it that there is a massive web of underground tunnels - a significant portion of which are still unmapped - which are inhabited by people. The author took inspiration from the published stories of these inhabitants who are called "the mole people" to shed light on the plight of these underground homeless.
The geek in me has always enjoyed a bit of scientific investigation, whether it is steeped in real theories and discoveries, or not. This book reminded me both of Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta and Crichton's Jurassic Park series as forensic science meets evolutionary biology. Between these interesting laboratory scenes and the great action ones in the underground tunnels, I find myself unwilling to put down the book when I had to. And one thing's for sure though, Preston & Child know how to write a suspenseful climax.