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The Cabinet of Curiosities

(Pendergast #3)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  43,496 ratings  ·  2,241 reviews
In downtown Manhattan, a gruesome discovery has just been made-an underground charnel house containing the bones of dozens of murder victims. Research reveals that a serial killer was at work in New York's notorious Five Points neighborhood in the 1880s, bent on prolonging his lifespan by any means. When a newspaper story on the old murders appears to ignite a new series o ...more
Paperback, 629 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Warner Books (first published June 3rd 2002)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  43,496 ratings  ·  2,241 reviews

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Sean Gibson
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thus far, I have, for whatever reason, been comparing the Pendergastian works of Messrs. Preston and Child to food (see, for example, here and here). It’s entirely possible I have a tapeworm. That said, in keeping with that theme, let’s call Cabinet of Curiosities a pumpkin spice latte.

On a crisp late October day with the leaves overhead a blaze of orange, red, and yellow, there are few more sublime experiences than sitting outside and sipping a pumpkin spice latte while you enjoy that blaze of
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, audio, library, mystery
This book was fantastic! The Pendergast series has been awesome so far. Well researched. Twists and turns. Suspense. Gore. Diabolical bad guys. Perilous situations. Last minute salvation. I am so glad this series has a lot more books because I don't want it to end!
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, buddy-read
5 creepy, terrifying stars!

Thanks Terry for the great BR on this book. I’m really enjoying our mutual trip down Pendergast horror lane. 😱😃

Alright, where do I start? That’s right, we start in New York City in an ancient tunnel full of 36 dead bodies! So, where did these bodies come from and why are they there? Great question and you’re about to find out.

FBI agent Aloysius X.L. Pendergast (whew, what a name!) decides to investigate this site with the dead bodies and enlist Dr. Nora Kelly to help w
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
”There, impaled on the horns of the triceratops, hung a body, naked from the waist up, arms and legs hanging loose. Three bloody horns stuck right through the man’s back. It looked as if the triceratops had gored the person, hoisting him into the air.”

The investigation into the mystery begins with the finding of 36 dismembered bodies under a construction site, but the mystery itself dates back 130 years ago. One of the bodies has a note sewn into her dress with her name and address written in he
TS Chan
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Three books in and Agent Pendergast might have convinced me to include thrillers as one of my favourite genres.

As an aside, I was told to read a stand-alone title, Thunderhead, also by Preston & Child, before I embark on The Cabinet of Curiosities. This is good advice as a new key character in this third volume, Nora Kelly, an archaeologist undergoing a tenure with the Museum of Natural History in New York, was the main protagonist in that novel with most of her character development
J.K. Grice
THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES still remains one of the best books that I have ever read. This is such an impressive novel.
Ivy H
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome, mind boggling and exciting mystery/thriller, with the perfect eccentric and dapper FBI special agent H in Pendergast.

Spoilers will literally ruin this type of novel for a future reader, but I will say that the big revelation of the villain's identity and his rationale for his cold, horrific serial killing crime spree, was something that was totally unexpected and shocking. The fact that the homicides span decades was perhaps the biggest shocker, because I'd been expecting the killer to
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay...I gave it a 5 star. Not many of those on my list, but I gave Relic a 4 and the only way to up that was a 5. I'm a little surprised at myself for the rating. This is a very good read and I have it on my shelf. I obtained it after listening to the audio (in a vehicle). I only do that if I figure I'll possibly reread at some point.

The atmosphere in this book combined with the imaginative story line is, if not great, just short of it. These books seem to have a largely female readership... No
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Sadly, I've now read all of the Pendergast novels, at least until the new one comes out this summer. Fortunately, I seem to have inadvertantly saved the best for last! Cabinet of Curiosities is definitely my favorite of all of them. At a construction site in New York City, workers unearth more than thirty skeletons, evidence of a serial killer operating more than 100 years ago. Soon afterward, a chilling series of copycat murders are perpetrated by a killer dubbed The Surgeon by the press. Agent ...more
Wonderful book. It introduced me to the thriller writing if Lincoln and Child: and their terrific character Aloyious Pendergast. Highly recommended.
I'm reading this series out of sequence. I believe my first book by Preston and Child was Blue Labyrinth (2014) and I thought wow, what a unique character and story so I was hooked and have been a fan ever since.

I love all their books but The Cabinet of Curiosities just blows me away and I love it so much! It is so mysterious and can I say horrifying? I'm glad that I read this one because the Pendergast family was covered, Nora Kelly was introduced, and Riverside Drive. O M G Riverside Drive 😱.
Chris Berko
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These guys really come into their own with this novel. Spectacular story, multiple things going on, and a very satisfying ending that leaves enough unanswered questions about our hero I'm compelled to keep reading just to see who he is. This was less campy then the first two Pendergast books and I really appreciate the maturity they bring to their writing so no matter how fantastical things get they keep things grounded in reality (somewhat), and I like how the supporting cast of characters chan ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The only thing I'm left feeling curious about is what took me so long to read this book, and the other Preston/Child's books?! This is a great mystery that includes tons of action, twists/turns and great horror moments. Special Agent Pendergast is such a fun, mysterious and always interesting character. I enjoyed getting more of his background in this installment. Thanks to Ginger and Matthew for the fun buddy read!
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a well written, edge of your seat, thriller. A hidden grave, an archaeologist; and an FBI agent whom seems to have mysterious ways. This book in some ways reminded me of Sherlock Holmes! Page turner for sure.
This book will shortly receive a welcome re-read as I found a hardcover version, review to follow of course.
And while this is the third Pendergast book it also stars Nora Kelly who will star in a new book coming August written by Messieurs Douglas & Child. So that is two books looking forward to this year, including the new Pendergast which seems to come out like clockwork and the latest one proved that the series was still going strong.

This book is certainly one of the more Gothic tales told in
kartik narayanan
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cabinet of Curiosities is an excellent serial killer based story. It is creepy, tense and intelligent. It has all the trademarks of this series - great writing, subtle humour, brilliant characters and an intricate mystery.

The Cabinet of Curiosities gives us a far deeper look into Pendergast than either of the previous books. He reminded me of Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock with his mannerisms, memory palace and coterie of smart assistants. I wonder how much inspiration Mark Gatis took fro
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“One can reach the gates of hell just as easily by short steps as by large.”

Staying in New York, this third novel deals with the museum and archaeological finds again. This time it's closet to home when tearing down structures for new business reveals hidden bones and horrors beneath cement walls, telling a tragic story of the past. A modern killer is up to no good, however, bringing out Special Agent Pendergast, returning character journalist Bill Smithback, and struggling archaeologist Nora
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
After a horrible discovery of a XIX century churnel house made by construction workers, people start dying. The manner of these recent deaths is the same as the old murders, so the press gave the killer a name - The Surgeon. Considering how weird all this is, it is no wonder Pendergast gets involved. There is a lot of him in this book.

I have a feeling this book tried to cram as much as incompetent and corrupt people as it it possible. It certainly wins the prize so far. The first two had their o
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Definitely the best in the series so far. Gradually we are learning more about Pendergast. These authors know how to write a suspenseful story! Two nights in a row I was unable to carry on reading because I was finding it creepy and I didn't think I'd be able to sleep if I read any more. And I read quite a lot of grimdark and horror type books. I enjoyed the history in this book too. An all round thoroughly entertaining read.
I’ve always been curious about the curiosities. Teehee. Cabinets to be exact. In these you learn quite a bit of history. I found it fascinating. The first ‘museums’ of a sort, imagine one so immense that it took more than one lifetime to gather. Imagine one that gave you long life. Imagine the curious cabinet of a serial killer...
there is something for everyone in this book. Antiquities galore.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very creepy history-based mystery-thriller with the always fun Agent Pendergast taking a bigger role than in the previous two novels. I loved the sequences showcasing Pendergast’s over-the-top mental powers, as unbelievable as some may find them. I’m no scientist but the anatomical and biological gobbledygook was convincing enough. If you’re in the mood for them, these books can be extremely satisfying.
One of the most creepiest books that i might have happened to have read in a long time.

I am a little scared still ©.©
Ashley Marie
3.5 stars

I appreciated the character development and the glimpse into Pendergast himself (finally), and I love Nora, and I'm still warming to Smithback, but the main plot didn't do much for me. P&C are fantastic with the fast pacing as it goes along and the stakes get higher, but I think I actually prefer the first two books over this one. A bit shocking even to me, because serial killers are one of my varied interests, so I thought this would be a lock for at least 4+ stars. Then again, it's en
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook # 218

I've read every book in the Pendergast series, but I thought I'd give the audiobooks a whirl so I can listen to them at work. I recommend every single one of them. He is my favorite detective.
Terence M (Spring is in My Step!)
12/03/2019 - Finished - Review to come
3.5 Stars - “I liked it 😎”
Recommended by Adrienne - thank you!

Audiobook - 17:04 hours - Narrator: Jonathan Marosz. This novel deserved more than an "I liked it" 3Stars but was not quite up to the standard of an "I really liked it" 4Stars.

Quite a long but interesting plot/storyline that was well-written and held my interest for most of the 17 hours of very good narration by Jonathan Marocz. Some significant suspension of belief was required which is not surp
Gary K Bibliophile
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very well done - RTC
Nov 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: brain-candy
The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child was a huge disappointment to me. Throughout this book I wondered why it was so revered in the mystery world. My husband picked up this copy almost a year ago for me and has been waiting patiently ever since for me to read it. After reading a particularly taxing book, I was looking for something lighter and exciting to read, so I picked this up. I'm still somewhat confused as to all the five star ratings on Goodreads, and if someone ...more
Shawn Deal
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action, mystery
This is a great book and the best stand alone book of the series. With great research into the underworld of New York city, the environment for this novel is incredible both equally spooky as well as fascinating. This is the first true Pendergast novel. Up until than he has been one character in a cast of characters, now for really the first time, he is the focus of the novel. And he easily carries the novel, the character himself and his family history are fascinating. This also begins to elude ...more
This was a very hard book to listen to because of the time jumps. I'm sure it would be easier read. I did read it a bit but I primarily listened to it.

This series definitely is genre bending horror at this point. There were some definite gruesome scenes in this one. The villain in this plot is 'The Surgeon' who does some unspeakable things.

We have the familiar cast of characters with Pendergast and Smithback and we meet a new one, Dr. Nora Kelly, archeologist.

Apparently Pendergast is a proteg
Hazel Bright
Jun 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
***please note: serious spoilers in this review***

This book started out in an interesting fashion, but a lot didn't make sense. For example, 1) I never understood what Nora found attractive in Smithback, he seemed like a fop and a simp. Maybe she wants to get a divorce in a later book in the series. 2) I never saw why Pendergast chose Nora. 3) Very dumb epiphanies - the final room to room walkthrough with the insects, then the lizards, then the clothing, then finally the armor - somehow help the
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Horror Aficionados : The Cabinet of Curiosities 108 71 Aug 25, 2017 09:22AM  
The ending killed me... (spoilers) 2 26 Dec 21, 2016 05:33AM  
Agent Pendergast is everything Sherlock Holmes SHOULD have been, but wasn't 1 12 Dec 07, 2016 08:47AM  
Play Book Tag: The Cabinet of Curiosities / Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. 4 stars 6 21 Jun 01, 2016 04:48PM  
review the cabinet of curiosities 25 133 Nov 16, 2015 07:27AM  
Agent Pendergast 10 124 Nov 10, 2013 09:23PM  
What's with the eyes? *Contains Spoiler!* 14 111 Oct 11, 2012 04:39PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Pendergast (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Relic (Pendergast, #1)
  • Reliquary (Pendergast, #2)
  • Still Life With Crows (Pendergast, #4)
  • Brimstone (Pendergast, #5; Diogenes, #1)
  • Dance of Death (Pendergast, #6; Diogenes, #2)
  • The Book of the Dead (Pendergast, #7; Diogenes, #3)
  • The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8)
  • Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9)
  • Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10)
  • Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11)

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