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Still Life with Crows (Pendergast #4)

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  25,004 Ratings  ·  1,184 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.
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Published July 28th 2003 by Hachette Audio (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sean Gibson
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Corn.

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 p
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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
...more
Matthew
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!
Emma
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
Bobby Underwood
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 par
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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
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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
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Kasia
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
StoryTellerShannon
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pra
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Jaya

This was spookier and scarier than its predecessors. Didn't think that was probable.
3.75 stars
Kirsten
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
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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
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Jean
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mike
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Likable whodunnit, with Pendergast sleuthing a possible serial killer in western Kansas.
Rade
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
CORN!!!!!!!

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
...more
Cheryl
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nate
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 apprehen
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Nina
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
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Sue Smith
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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ᴥ Irena ᴥ
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.

Someone killed a man in Medicine Creek in a gruesome and what seemed to be ritualistic
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Michael Knudsen
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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"
...more
Katy
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Keair Snyder
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Karin
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love this series. I liked how in this one they brought in another one of their books...
Fred Forbes
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah
Jan 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Oscar
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
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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
Lee
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pendergast
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
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  • Death Match
  • Conspiracies (Repairman Jack, #3)
  • Excavation
  • Instinct (Chess Team Adventure, #2)
12577
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 17 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)

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.”
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“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
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