Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Still Life With Crows by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

If this book had not been a selection for a challenge, it would have gone into the DNF (did not finish) pile early on.  As it was, this was my "Staff Pick" choice for Library Bingo.  Sure, I could have put it back and picked again, but I was curious to see why it had been recommended, so I stuck it out to the last gory, repulsive page. 

I have read one other novel from the Special Agent Pendergast series, so the fact that Preston and Child write vivid violence was not a surprise.  I've read Stephen King, Tami Hoag, James Patterson and a handful of other thriller authors who don't cut corners in the carnage department, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with the genre.  But, (B-I-G but) this was a whole new level of disgusting.  Dismembered, disembowled, disfigured bodies - human and animal - drip from every page.  It may have been the cannibalism that pushed me over that last edge.

One of the attractions of this book is that it is set in southwest Kansas (that's where we live) and it's always fun to read about towns and settings with which you are familiar.  However, this was a Kansas I didn't recognize.  We've been involved in agriculture in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska for twenty-seven years.  We've lived in this area for the last seven.  The endless miles of cornfields and the sensation of driving between "walls of corn" can be found in many parts of Nebraska, but not here.  Also, I would wager that the authors have never been in/near a tornado.  Their descriptions of the storm, the warning system, and the length of advance notice were all off.  And my final peeve - seriously, this is the last one - was the typecasting of the citizens as redneck, uneducated and just plain stupid.  I resemble that remark!  :)

I don't need to critique Preston and Child's writing style for you.  They have a string of bestsellers to their names.  They are obviously talented.  The plot of this novel is creative and original - but the butchery is off the charts.  It won't be getting a recommendation from this staff member.

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