Brooke's Reviews > Cemetery Dance

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston
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's review
May 16, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: thriller, 2009
Read in May, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Although most, if not all, of the other GR reviews for this book contain a certain plot element without including a spoiler warning, I'm a little uncertain about doing so. I understand their likely reasoning - it's revealed in the inner flap of the book and occurs in the first few pages, but the shock I felt when opening up the cover and reading the newspaper clipping printed there, "William Smithback Jr., a prominent New York Time reporter, was killed in a brutal attack last night in his Upper West Side apartment," was so startling that I'd hate to take that away from other readers.

My first response was denial - no way did Preston and Child kill off Smithback. He's one of their original characters, introduced in Relic along with D'Agosta and Pendergast. No way did they do it and then reveal it in the book's synopsis without some sort of twist. It's a misdirection! At least twice they've given the illusion that someone was dead, only to find out that we'd been tricked. I was quite confident Smithback would be just fine.

By the time I got to the autopsy scene, where his organs were displayed around his opened corpse, I realized that no, our dear journalist has really left us.


One reason I love the Preston/Child books so much is that they've crafted unique characters that I end up really attached to. This is the opposite of so many other thrillers (including, puzzlingly, their solo books). In the end, the reason for Smithback's death was so mundane that it was disappointing. We lost him so some rich dude can get richer? The rich dude's full plan, when finally revealed, seems too crazily far-fetched - too many things had to happen just right for it to have worked out. Being a fictional story, obviously everything DID happen right, but it required quite a bit of suspension of disbelief (go ahead and laugh - after everything that's happened in the Preston/Child books, THIS is what trips me up? I know, I know.)

I'm just lukewarm on this one, which is sad since, to me, new Preston/Child releases are akin to new Harry Potters. There are threads dropped within that are reasonably expected to lead to new ones (Nora's new expedition and the mysterious envelope Pendergast receives), so hopefully I'll go back to being a drooling fangirl in a year's time.
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message 1: by Mendi (new) - added it

Mendi Estes-sample I hear you. I read this series because my husband listens to books on Audible so I've heard bits and pieces and decided to read the series for myself, in order, might I add. Lol. I was doing good with that which is rare, unheard of actually, then I read Thunderhead. Omg! Loved that book. The characters and the romance blooming for Nora and Smithback. I'm more into romances that develop. Nora and Smithback compliment each other. I'm almost more invested in their relationship and watching them grow as a couple than I am in the actual mysteries themselves. And now my husband blurts out Smithback's fate. I'm so upset. I almost don't wanna read any more books. Poor Nora. I'm so disappointed. I haven't read this book... Thanks husband.

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