Josh's Reviews > Relic

Relic by Douglas Preston
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, thriller, horror
Read in November, 2010

Creature stories are one of my guilty pleasures and Relic is the perfect entree. the novel is the earliest work of the partnership between Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and is certainly representative of much of their work: a mixture of horror, crime, and the supernatural. Although considered a techno-thriller, Relic leans more toward the horror category in my opinion. It is nonetheless a fun, quick read.

After years of rumors, and just days before the opening of new exhibit on superstition, people start dying. Their bodies are found horribly mutilated and decapitated. The police investigate only to find that the deaths do not appear to be caused by a human, but few are willing to entertain the idea that a non-human creature is behind the killings. Meanwhile, while working to prepare the museum for one of its biggest openings of all time, the museum staff is in fear of a suspected serial killer.

Relic, being written in the mid-nineties, is a product of the times. Reading it, one gets the sense of Crichton's Jurassic Park, not only because, like the park's dinosaurs, Relic features a creature out of place and time, but also because Relic sports that early nineties fear of computerization. Just as Jurassic Park's computerized containment systems failed, leaving humans to the slaughter of scientifically-revived Velociraptors, the New York Museum of Natural History's is also completely automated, failproof, and -- surprise! -- a death trap.

Relic's characters are standard fare for this type of fiction, but FBI Agent Pendergast is the obvious standout. Pendergast is the smooth, brave, resourceful and has a sense of humor. Overall, Relic is a fun, quick read those who enjoy blending technology with horror and the supernatural.
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