Book Review: Cabinet of Curiosities

Part of the challenge with entering the pool as a writer is that the field of competition never dries up. This is never more evident than when I pick up an early 2000’s page-turner such as this week’s subject and want to read more about these characters, this series, this world. I have a confession to make. I am addicted to Half-Price books. For casual dates, it is one of the go-tos for my wife and I. As such, I have hardly been to a library in six years because I live in one. We bought more books than we could read in certain periods of our lives. I have a nebulous, ongoing mission to purchase the first and/or best books of some of the names that I see on the shelf all the time but have just never picked up. Cabinet of Curiosities was one of those books.

I review what I read and I read a variety of genres. As always, if you have a book you are interested in seeing reviewed in this space, feel free to contact me.

The Basics: 

Title: Cabinet of Curiosities
Authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Hatchet Book Group, 2003

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

The unearthing of a shockingly large collection of dead bodies stops an expensive New York construction project dead in its tracks. A mysterious and eccentric FBI agent takes up the century-old cold case, recruiting a reluctant beat cop, a museum archaeologist, and a reporter along the way. Soon, a string of similar murders begins, and the investigators slide into a pit of increasing danger and mystery. We are kept guessing until the end whether the new murderer is a copycat, or something altogether more sinister. More supernatural. 

Why this book might be for you:

This is an excellent mystery. The historical backdrop feels well-researched and is smoothly presented. There are no exposition speed-bumps. The clues are laid out sensibly, so the reader does not feel cheated at the end. The characters we meet along the way are eccentric and memorable. Even those who appear only briefly are fully formed as if they sat before you in your reading parlor. Every development ratchets up the tension and sucks you into one more chapter. Just when you think you have it all figured out, shocking revelations come hard and fast. 

Why this book might not be for you: 

Cabinet of Curiosities walks a line somewhere between a cozy mystery and a procedural that I personally found satisfying, but readers who strongly prefer one or the other may not enjoy that blend. The murderer’s method is shocking and graphic, which may turn off a certain segment of readers. On the other hand, if a cast of quirky side characters who assist in the investigation or the hint of the supernatural tends to break your suspension of disbelief, then this may not be the book for you. 

Where can you find more?

In addition to their official page, you can find the authors on Hatchett, and an interesting chronological breakdown of their work on How To Read Me

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