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Still Life With Crows

(Pendergast #4)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  29,881 ratings  ·  1,466 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 July 1st 2003)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  29,881 ratings  ·  1,466 reviews

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Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, buddy-read
YES!! Another great addition in the Pendergast series!
I’m sure you can you tell I’m excited to do this review, right? You’ve got to understand that my enthusiasm for this book is also for the series. Almost all the books in this series are entertaining, fun and thrilling. The tension is just lights out.
The books are just so good! I mean, isn't that what we want when we read? To be entertained?

Thanks Terry for another great buddy read while we travel down Pendergast lane!

So, how does this book
Sean Gibson
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

Food metaphors have been the order of the day (pun intended) thus far in reviewing Messrs. Preston and Child’s Pendergast series (hot dog, anyone?), and so I’m compelled to continue that tradition, because if I don’t, I have absolutely no framing device for this review. For a Kansas-set book that takes place amidst acres and acres of oppressive and unrelenting corn fields, there could be no other choice (well, there are some other thematically appropriate foods I could select based on the
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
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why are you reading this review instead of a Pendergast book?

These books are soooooo damn good!

Suspenseful . . . mysterious . . . gory . . . terrifying . . .

Most books have just one or two chapters of suspenseful climax. The entire last third of this book had me on the edge of my seat.

If you like Michael Crichton and Dan Brown but are looking for something a bit more hardcore, look no further than Preston & Child. Do yourself a favor and start reading the Pendergast series!
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Pendergast is a great character! This series can be pretty creepy actually and this one was no exception. The books make a good occasional read for when I've overdosed on one type of book (usually fantasy in my case)! These books are always suspenseful, not too demanding but also not too predictable.
TS Chan
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
I am officially addicted to Pendergast. So much so that I didn't even feel like writing this quick review and want to jump straight into Brimstone (Book 5). The Pendergast series has so far been highly entertaining and full of creepy and chilling suspense. It is just what I wanted for the month of October without going full-blown horror.

The character of Pendergast continues to intrigue and delight me to no end. I love how his refined eccentricity throws everyone he encounters out of their
Bobby Underwood
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You can smell the farmland and hear the Kansas winds rustling through fields of corn as the erudite FBI agent with a touch of the supernatural about him, Pendergast, brings to the heartland his dark suit, 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, and seemingly endless knowledge of the strange and otherworldly.

Squeezed between The Cabinet of Curiosities and Brimstone, two of the best in the series, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child created another terrific novel that is part mystery, part thriller, and
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I love several books in the Pendergast series. But, I think Still Lif with Crows is my personal favorite. It has an interesting and engrossing plot and best of it all we are introduced to Corrie Swanson, who besides Pendergast is my favorite character in the series!
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
"Because truth is the safest lie."

I'm in love - this book has now pushed itself to the top of the line of the first four novels from the talented team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Pendergast actually leaves New York and travels to a small, dying town that's covered in cornfields and old Indian Legend. When the dust settles, it's clear they have a demented killer at hand. At first the sheriff blames an outsider, but it soon become apparent it's someone nearer to them than that...the only
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Deliciously creepy tale with corn fields and caves and someone who can pull off limbs with his bare hands. Also, who doesn't appreciate a killer with such an artistic bent? Body parts, Indian artefacts, and dead crows in a macabre tableau. The Tate modern would be all over it.

Safe to say that I'm pretty into the question that is Agent Pendergast by now. His dark family secrets, his first name (still unrevealed), the black suit, his vast intelligence, and the occasional flashes of humour. I'd
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Another stellar mystery involving Special Agent Pendergast.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another terrific installment in the Pendergast series by Preston and Child. It's evidence of a great mystery book when I'm left wondering all the way to the end exactly what is going on, even to the point of getting the biggest revelation in the final pages. I think the setting painted by the authors in this book is perfect for this storyline, as creepy and awe-inspiring as it is. I look forward to the next book in the series, as well as the other Preston/Child books. Thanks again to Ginger and ...more
Karl Marberger
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a red hot, horrifying read! A murder mystery with the feel of a genuine horror, slasher flick.

Scenes unfold at a relentless pace and chills fly at you like bullets. Not very predictable either. I didn't see the revelation coming until the moment before Pendergast did the big tell-all. Eerie prose that keeps you guessing and captivated.

The whole thing with the antagonist was just plain freaky. Also, I'll never think of cornfields the same way again.
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book that introduces one of the most annoying secondary characters of all time-Corey Swanson
Lord I dread the next several books because of her. I love this series; Pendergast is all that, but please never bring her back.

The book is a steady stream of murder and mutilation. Of course Pendergast plays his Special Agent card throughout causing much conflict with the local law enforcement. But I think what makes this particular book book so singular in the series is the last five minutes of the
kartik narayanan
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I guess I should have expected it. After three great books, the law of averages finally caught up with Agent Pendergast.

While this book is still much better than most of the dross out there, this is easily the weakest so far due to two reasons. The first being the over-reliance on the memory palace (this was ok in The Cabinet of Curiosities) because in this book it acts as a deux ex machina. The second is the trite resolution (no spoilers). This book has excellent writing and characterization

This was spookier and scarier than its predecessors. Didn't think that was probable.
3.75 stars
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are books that once you start reading it is sooo hard to put it down, this 4th installment of the Pendergast series is one of those books. This book tells of a series of deaths that are gruesome as they come and Pendergast on vacation in a little town in central USA is very curious about the situation and invites himself.

Pendergast as always works very wel when it highlights some curious bit of Americana, in this case the disappearing towns in the great expanse of the United states. Towns
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, thrillers
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
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really, really loved this story, made all the better by Scott Brick's narration. Thank you to the authors and another to Scott. I was totally not prepared for the last part of the Epilogue!

I cannot seem to want to get these characters out of my system.
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed

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
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio

We are all Cory Swanson. Even if we’ve never had it that bad I feel like it’s true. I want to see her again in this series, she represents hope.

The story itself was pretty damn good with a dark fairytale ending. I will certainly be continuing the series.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great fun series even if you do have to suspend disbelief.
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.
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
So much corn. Review to come. ;)
This was the first Pendergast case not located in NY. I missed the museum, but I must admit I did not miss Smithback. (Of course there was another journalist in the story to bug me.) So, this story is basically about corn and things that happen in, around, and amongst the corn. Don’t worry though. You have Pendergast and a whole bunch of weirdos and just rather an interesting cast of characters to keep things Fresh amongst the fields. One character
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This was the 1st one of this series that we read. We laughed hysterically at times & were thoroughly intrigued at others! We ended up starting at the beginning & listening to the whole series together. We like the narrator Scott Brick the best. The Diogenes trilogy is probably our favorite but I still remember this one with very fond memories.

Fast fwd to August 2018. Reading this again with my daughter. Hubby loaned me a 'y' adaptor to use with my iPod so we could both plug in our
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Pendergast (1 - 10 of 19 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; Diogenes, #3)
  • The Wheel of Darkness (Pendergast, #8)
  • Cemetery Dance (Pendergast, #9)
  • Fever Dream (Pendergast, #10)
  • Cold Vengeance (Pendergast, #11)
“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.” 10 likes
More quotes…