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Read Mihir's Interview with the authors HERE:
Book Info: The hardcover edition of the novel is 435 pages long. The story is divided into 85 chapters with an epilogue as well. The book also has an authors' note regarding all their works, the chronological reading order and a bit about the agent Pendergast series.
The Cast of Characters include regulars of the earlier books like Lt. Vincent D'Agosta, Captain Laura Hayward, Nora Kelly along with cameos of a few others. In all their novels, Preston & Child have either a one-off or a couple of chapters POV from minor or new characters and in "Cemetery Dance" we are introduced to Caitlyn Kidd. The usual cameos from Wren, Proctor & Cornelia Pendergast leave the readers wondering more about their enigmatic pasts & the authors will hopefully reveal more in future series installments.
The book is narrated in the 3rd person and has POV's from Pendergast, D'Agosta, Nora Kelly & Laura Hayward as well as the above mentioned minor/new characters like Caitlyn Kidd.
Overview & Analysis: "Cemetery Dance" is another of the many collaborations of the two authors in 15 years now and the readers can let go of their triskaidekaphobic thoughts since the novel is not cursed by its 13th label so to speak, but it is excellent. The novel is also the ninth appearance of FBI Agent A.X.L. Pendergast, while being the seventh book with him as the main protagonist. In "Relic & Reliquary", Pendergast was more of a supporting character than a leading protagonist.
However his first solo appearance in "Cabinet of Curiosities" gained the authors a multitude of fans as they ventured into horror-thriller territory. Since then the Agent Pendergast books have been a staple diet of many fans as layer by layer of intrigue has been revealed about the hero in each book leading to this one.
Though "Cemetery Dance" is written as a standalone novel & can be enjoyed as such, it would be more sensible for the reader to have some previous knowledge of the characters and their past. Readers who would like to understand the entire back-story might want to start from the 1st book "Relic" and then work their way through the remaining books. This will also lend credibility to the authors' thoughts and purposes in the creation & development of Pendergast. If you are impatient to read this book, just go ahead, but you have been warned and there are spoilers ahead for the series!!
The novel begins with the murder of one of the most beloved characters in the DPLC-verse which has happened previoulsy; however the authors insert a hook: the assumed murderer, Colin Fearing has already been dead for 10 days & by most bystander accounts he seemed to have been moving akin to a zombie.
The novel then races off with further attacks on Nora Kelly, Smithback's wife as well as certain other gruesome murders & events. Pendergast who is usually very scientific in his approach to investigations accepts where the Occam's Razor principle leads and begins his case checking out known things about Haitian Voodoo & Zombiis. There is also a strange cult in NYC which has a past history of animal sacrifice & various other nefarious activities. The authors keep the relentless paceend to end and also pepper the book with quirky facts about Haitian customs, the practices of Voodoo, Obeah & the word "Zombiis".
However as in previous novels, the reader is never sure which track the authors intend to follow & the actual happenings surrounding the murder will indeed come as a surprise to many. The authors have also mentioned previously that no one is truly safe in their books & they prove it here with the death of Smithback.
This book is more in the vein of "Cabinet of Curiosities" having a huge horror element running through it; most readers will be immediately sucked into the story. "Cemetary Dance" is highly recommended for series regulars as well for newer readers searching for great thrillers.
Just a statutory warning: these books are highly addictive!!; once you read one, you will be compeleld to re-read it as well as read the other series installements to expand your DPLC-verse experience. I believe Messrs Preston & Child strive for this and I think they achieve it superbly.
The story ends with some premonitions about Pendergast's future while the threads started here have a concrete ending. It will indeed be fun to find out about what the future holds for Agent Pendergast.
As a further tidbit, I note that the authors have revealed that the next book will feature a new character who has played a crucial role in Pendergast's life, while remaining a mystery to the readers so far. Who might it be? I think I know for sure; the clues for you dear reader might lie within this book.