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Still Life With Crows (Pendergast, #4)
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Still Life With Crows (Pendergast #4)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  20,581 ratings  ·  942 reviews
A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground.
Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy?
Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land?
Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heartland.
No one is safe.
Mass Market Paperback, 564 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2003)
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Dirk Grobbelaar

Revisited Review

On the back of my edition of 'Still Life With Crows' there is a blurb that states: These guys are masters at scaring the hell out of people. Turns out... they actually are.

In this case, it was certainly true. I'd been reading a slew of horror and suspense novels, and this one was certainly one of the scariest. Some other reviewers weren't too fond of the setting, but I loved it. I've always enjoyed 'Small Town Horror' settings. No, this isn't quite the same thing as 'Salem's Lot
Mike (the Paladin)
Agent Pendergast shows up again at an unusual place....mostly due to his interest in esoteric murders. The elasticity of his relationship with the FBI is a continual topic of conversation among those who know him.

I enjoyed this book also (it's the source of one of my favorite quotes, especially if you can imagine it in Pendergast'a New Orleans accent. When asked why he always wears black he responds "I am partial to the color". Okay I said it was one of MY favorite quotes.) The weirdness of the
As usual high quality writing but some might feel the ending was a tad below the previous books. One always likes to have clues to the murderer before they're revealed and some might argue there were not enough but I thought there were enough once you got to a certain point in the novel. This tale takes us away from NYC to a hamlet sized town named Medicine Creek which is suffering from economic depression.

Things even get worse as locals are murdered in the cornfields amidst peculiar ritual pra
I have a little crush on Aloysius Pendergast, I do believe. He's a great character; very Sherlock Holmes-esque, but rather more bizarre -- he makes Sherlock Holmes seem like a normal guy.

Anyhoo, I really enjoyed this; I thought it was a lot better than Brimstone, which is the other Pendergast novel I've read (yes, I know I'm reading them all out of order); the secondary characters were fleshed out nicely, and there was a lot of good humor as the natives of a tiny Kansas town try to figure out wh
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
This is the best Pendergast of the series (that is opinion, mine). This is my favorite of the series. I loved the additoin of Corey Swanon. I mean, what's not to like from a Goth 18 year old girl in Poedunk Kansas (Dorthy don't even know where this place is) who, after speeding through town and getting arrested by the sherrif utters such spectacular phrases as, "you fart eating bastard!"

The story is scary, like all of the Pendergast series, the plot is complicated and well thought out. Penderga

Seriously, IMO I did not think Pendergast should have been put to do his work in a small Kansas town, but whatever. Granted, he was there on a vacation but who the hell says they will go take their vacation in a town filled with nothing but failing stores and shitload of corn?

The whole corn subplot was very boring and quite skippable so there's no point in going through it in detail. As far as the characters go, you got some who are total dicks and you got some who, despite their pers
Kasia S.
The fourth book in the series has plenty of thrills, chills and surprises but the format changes from the usual Preston/Child way of tackling this saga. The backdrop of New York City is left behind, Special Agent Pendergast takes a small "vacation" which is only a cover up for tackling yet another gruesome case, this time taking place in remote town of Medicine Creek, Kansas. Quite a change from the mysterious urban setting we see Pendergast in, his usual friends and helpers are missing as well, ...more
You can't beat Preston and Child for macabre mystery genre. In this book we find Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast arriving mysteriously in Medicine Creek, Kansas. A nowhere town headed nowhere, until the Kansas State University takes an interest in the town as a site to test genetically altered corn.
Unfortunately a series of bizarre murders threatens that plan from ever becoming a reality. Agent Pendergast is in a race to prevent more murders while trying to keep from being run out of town by
Good mystery in the Pendergast series. I liked the descriptions of the town and thought the characters were interesting. The murders were pretty gruesome, although the reason for it is explained in the end. Corrie, a favorite character in this series, plays a big part in the plot. Worth reading.
Ai että kirja voi vain olla niin pirun hyvä. Perdergastit ovat ehdottomia suosikkikirjoja!

Tämä oli toinen kertani tämän parissa ja kyllä sen myös kesti. Olen kauan miettinyt, kummasta pidän enemmän, tästä vai Ihmeiden kabinetista. Molemmat ovat tunnelmaltaan huikeita, tapahtumaympäristöt ovat täysin erilaiset mutta vahvat, hahmot kiinnostavia ja persoonallisia. Se on nyt fifty-fifty. Jaettu ykkössija.

Voi erikoisagentti Pendergast että osaat olla niin mahtava hahmo. Tyyppi on salaperäinen ja käve
Keair Snyder
I read this book when I was about nineteen (2006) during three really crappy days. I had no money, no coffee, and no cigarettes which makes this chick a very unpleasant person to be around. In an attempt to ignore the murderous rage I felt anytime someone said my name, I immersed myself in this book, which I found in the trash years before, and it did the trick. I wasn't focused on being hungry or the withdraw from caffeine and nicotine anymore. I was wrapped up in this twisted tale. I've never ...more
La historia comienza cuando un cadáver es encontrado torturado brutalmente en un maizal de Medicine Creek, un pueblo perdido de Kansas. Quien se hace cargo del caso es el sheriff Hazen, que si bien no es un incompetente, sí se encuentra bastante desconcertado. Pero pronto llegará al pueblo un curioso personaje, el agente especial del FBI Pendergast, y su peculiar estilo de investigación.

‘Naturaleza muerta’ (Still Life with Crows, 2003), de los escritores Douglas Preston y Lincoln Child, tiene un
⊱ Irena ⊰
Different setting, different people and different type of a killer. The setting, a very small town in Kansas, is what you would expect from a place with three hundred or so people. They argue a lot, gossip and want to know everything. As in the first three books, you get the rich who want something, but the inconvenient murder is getting in their way. I like the choice of the setting. It is isolated and small.

Pendergast's interest is peaked when someone killed a man in Medicine Creek in a grueso
Fred Forbes
During my high school years in the DC area one of my passions was caving. On one trip, we were preparing to enter a cave and I ignited my source of light, a carbide mining light -no such things as LEDs in those days - and it started to rain. Told my buddy to bring my pack and I would meet him by the pit which was about a hundred feet in and ran to the entrance to avoid getting soaked. I made my way down the passage and settled on a rock protrusion that extended out over the edge of the pit which ...more
This was a wonderfully tightly plotted story with a stunning twist to the conclusion that literally left me breathless - and gave me the biggest case of the creeps I have had from a book in years!

Those who have read the Pendergast novels know all about Agent Pendergast's predilection for luxury, so it is a surprise to find him showing up in a small town in Kansas to investigate an unusual death with ritualistic aspects. While folks in the town are all stirred up over it, there is an undercurren
Michael Knudsen
It's not perfect but it remains one of my favorite novels of all time. Along with The Relic I consider it to be the high point of P&C's efforts, and the most fun and original of Pendergast's exploits.

Aloysius Pendergast, the independently wealthy decorated FBI Agent from the New Orleans field office, arrives in the sweltering backwater of Medicine Creek, Kansas, just after a bizarre murder scene is discovered in a cornfield just outside of town. Pendergast announces that he is "on vacation"
Agent Pendergast's crime-solving adventures continues in Still Life with Crows. This time, he gets away from NYC and enters a different way of life, and almost a different time period, when he sets out to investigate a grisly murder in the cornfields of Kansas. The opening scene is gruesome and unforgettable. A murdered woman is found in the middle of a cleared cornfield with arrowheads and dead birds surrounding her. The murders continue from there.

The rest of the book seems to follow in the e
Sue Smith
Lordy - what a book!!!

Great ending too - you've got to love a book that goes out with a bang!!! Especially when it grabbed you from the get go. This story had it all - creepy ripe cornfields, gruesome murder scene with hallmarks of a very sick mind, small town politics and characters and a local historical landmark that speaks of supernatural doings and a legend of a very old curse that may have been awakened. I mean - what more could you ask for?!

Oh - and did I mention it's in the middle of K
Scott Rhee
Fans of "Brimstone" will enjoy this, another exciting thriller starring FBI agent Pendergast by the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. In "Still Life With Crows", the setting is the American Heartland, where a series of gruesome killings amongst the cornfields has authorities baffled. Enter SA Pendergast, a mysterious soft-spoken agent who claims to be working in an unofficial capacity (on his vacation, no less). He soon uncovers that there is something more troubling than a seri ...more
Instead of New York City, Pendergast is tromping around the dusty cornfields of western Kansas. Supposedly there on vacation, to help the locals investigating a gruesome killing. Without his '59 Rolls Royce at the beginning of the story, he walks from the sheriff's office to check on a room. I can imagine the 'ol lady looking out her window, and seeing this pale looking man, dressed like an undertaker, strolling down the dirt road....I'm sure she thought death was coming to knock on her door. He ...more
Hmm. The last 20% of this book was a bit dragged out, the denouement kind of came out of nowhere, and the ending was cluttered and unpolished, but I like Pendergast's eccentric character and enjoy the books in this series. There was a high "ew factor" to this story, but the authors do such a good job setting scenes, developing characters, and building suspense, they made it impossible for me to put this book down, no matter how bloody and gore-splattered the pages became.
Another great outing from Preston/Childs. This is book 4 in the Pendergast saga and it was a real thrill! Pendergast goes to a small town in Kansas, Medicine Creek, after a brutal murder is committed...a woman is killed and mutilated and left in a ritualized tableau in a corn field surrounded by dead crows and native american arrows. Even though this is only one murder, Pendergast knows that others are coming. And come they do! But who is committing the murders? The sheriff feels they are being ...more
My favorite Pendergast yet.

Small-town horror.

Creepy drying corn fields.

And my favorite detective.

What is there not to love?

Pendergast arrives in small town in the middle of Kansas, where horror is running rampant. He has some vacation time and he figures he'll spend it solving some strange murders.

He takes a local badass teen, Corrie Swanson, and has her show him around town.

Corrie is a delight and Pendergast gets to show his sweet side.

This story is pretty suspenseful and there are some
As much as I enjoy Special Agent Pendergast, this book was really poor. I don't think it's possible to create more boring, stereotypically unrealistic characters than Preston and Child did here.

Per usual, it's a story that involves a questionable series of murders in which Pendergast shows up, uninvited (duh!), and unwelcome. He proceeds to act erratically but with ulterior purpose. Then, some potentially supernatural forces are explored and Pendergast ties it all together nicely after apprehen
As with all my guilty pleasures, my enjoyment of the fun things outweighs the irritation caused by the guilty bits. In the cases of Pendergast novels, the guilty bits are the wild implausibilities in both setting and some of the characters.

The delicious yummy things in this novel included:

The corn. I have no idea why, but I loved the setting the middle of all that corn. There was one particularly good quote about it too: "It wasn't natural, to be surrounded by so much goddamned corn. It made peo
Cindy Lynn
"Hazen found himself marveling at the geometrical precision with which the circle had been formed. At one end of the clearing stood a miniature forest of sharpened sticks, two to three feet high, pushed into the earth, their cruel-looking ends pointed upward. At the precise middle of the clearing stood a circle of dead crows spitted on stakes. Only they weren't stakes, but Indian arrows, each topped by a flaked point. There were at least a couple dozen of the birds, maybe more, their vacant eyes ...more
Hali Sowle
The 4th book in the Pendergast series takes place away from the usual location of NYC. In the very small town of Medicine Creek, KS a brutal murder has taken place and the killer has taken the time to decorate the murder scene with the bodies of dead crows. Special Agent Pendergast is on vacation, trying to put some space between himself and the terrible happenings in the basement of the house on Riverside Drive that belonged to his ancestor, but Pendergast's idea of a vacation is to investigate ...more
This is one of my favorite Pendergast novels. Here, the agent is ostensibly on vacation in America's heartland when he comes across a horrific murder and believes at first that a serial killer is working in a small farm town. The town's near dead and its only hope for survival is receiving a field of bioengineered corn developed by KSU.

However, other deaths begin occurring and Pendergast enlists the aid of the local goth, a teen named Corrie Swanson. The authors credit their kids for inspiratio
"Great, if not Best Stand Alone Book for Pendergast Fans"

There is the Diogenes series, the recent series involved with searching for truths to his marriage & alleged wife that was killed in a lion attack, two books introducing X.P. Pendergast in Relic/Reliquary, & a few other stand alone books that involved friends of X.P. such as Constance, Smithback... but this particular book is IMO the best stand alone mystery involving our favorite funeral director dressed FBI officer from N.O. He i
Mary Taitt
Still Life with Crows, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: In Medicine Creek, Kansas, a town where little changes, where Main Street is a two-block stretch of dusty businesses, a peculiar and grisly murder has taken place. The body mutilated and placed carefully in an elaborate tableau in the middle of the endless cornfields. Now eagle-eyed and even-tempered FBI Agent Pendergast arrives to turn upside down this small community to find the killer who must be one of them. The killings are timed ...more
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Great Example of What a Suspense Thriller Should Be 5 12 Nov 04, 2015 07:21PM  
Bookworm Buddies: Still Life with Crows - October 10 28 29 Oct 20, 2013 06:34PM  
Ask Preston & Child!: Whatever Happened to Corrie? 17 139 Sep 17, 2011 09:26AM  
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Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr ...more
More about Douglas Preston...

Other Books in the Series

Pendergast (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Relic (Pendergast, #1)
  • Reliquary (Pendergast, #2)
  • The Cabinet of Curiosities (Pendergast, #3)
  • Brimstone (Pendergast, #5; Diogenes, #1)
  • Dance of Death (Pendergast, #6; Diogenes, #2)
  • The Book of the Dead (Pendergast, #7)
  • The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8)
  • Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9)
  • Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10)
  • Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11)

Share This Book

“Where are you from, Mr. Pendergast? Can't quite place the accent.”
“New Orleans.”
“What a coincidence! I went there for Mardi Gras once."
“How nice for you. I myself have never attended.”
Ludwig paused, the smile frozen on his face, wondering how to steer the conversation onto a more pertinent topic.”
“I have found that liars in the end communicate more truth than do truth tellers.” “How’s that?” “Because truth is the safest lie.” 5 likes
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