Preston and Child aren't like Lansdale's Hap and Leonard series, or Bill Pronzini's Nameless Detective books. They aren't like F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack/Adversary cycle. These books have always maintained a high level of quality. As far as I am concerned, every book in these three franchises has been excellent.

The Pendergast books have highs and lows. I haven't outright disliked any of them, but I've had favorites and there have been ones that have frustrated me.

Pendergast has had an illustrious career over the past twenty-five years. He's been all over the globe, entwined in cases both mundane and spectacular. Now, with The Cabinet of Dr. Leng, Messrs P&C go back to the plot details of perhaps the most satisfying book of their years in publishing: The Cabinet of Curiosities.

If you've read the previous entry, Bloodless, you know this book will be a wild one. Pendergast's ward, Constance, has returned to the year 1880 to right wrongs and stop a monster from committing ghastly crimes against her family. And her younger self.

I am most happy to report that a beloved character, Vinnie D'Agosta, finally returns to the series. A good recent character, Special Agent Coldmoon, also appears in The Cabinet of Dr. Leng. Thankfully, the most contrived and unwelcome addition to the series, Roger Smithback, is not in this one.

The Cabinet of Dr. Leng has everything a reader could wish for. There's detection, horror, adventure and intrigue. It's a thriller, and also kind of a slipstream story. The pace is lightning fast and the two devilish authors leave their faithful readers with a juicy cliffhanger at the frantic conclusion of the book. The final page reveals one last surprise. Fans of the series will be thrilled.

I am delighted to say The Cabinet of Dr. Leng is one of the best books in this long and provocative series.

If you haven't yet supped at the cup of the Pendergast books, I urge you to jump in and hold on for dear life. The first book is Relic, and it's a good one. I sometimes suggest beginning with The Cabinet of Curiosities. It's the one that really begins the Pendergast saga. You will not regret it.

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