Date of Publication: 1995
Synopsis: “A monster on the loose in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History provides the hook for this high-concept, high-energy thriller. A statue of the mad god Mbwun, a monstrous mix of man and reptile, was discovered by a Museum expedition to South America in 1987. Now, it is about to become part of the new Superstition Exhibition at the museum (here renamed the “New York Museum of Natural History”). But as the exhibition’s opening night approaches, the museum may have to be shut down due to a series of savage murders that seem to be the work of a maniac-or a living version of Mbwun. When the museum’s director pulls strings to ensure that the gala affair takes place, it’s up to a small band of believers, led by graduate student Margo Green, her controversial adviser and an FBI agent who investigated similar killings in New Orleans, to stop the monster-if the culprit is indeed a monster-from going on a rampage. Less horror then action-adventure, the narrative builds to a superbly exciting climax, and then offers a final twist to boot. With its close-up view of museum life and politics, plausible scientific background, sharply drawn characters and a plot line that’s blissfully free of gratuitous romance, this well-crafted novel offers first-rate thrills and chills.” -Publishers Weekly
Review: This intensely exciting thriller is the beginning of Preston’s and Child’s series featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, the tall, ghostly-pale Southern gentleman who is half MacGyver half Oxford professor. Pendergast is one of the best characters I’ve ever read, and certainly the best law enforcement character. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed in the other characters either, especially the sardonic New York cop, Vincent D’Agosta and the tenacious grad student, Margo Green, who join Pendergast in his search for the truth. The premise of the book is not only breathtakingly frightening, but also breathtakingly believable. I gladly return to this book again and again, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the authors’ continuation of these characters in the rest of the series.