Reliquary – Preston & Child, Dick Hill

I think the first thing I said about Reliquary was “Well, crap, this one’s got the echo–y sound effects too.” I complained about that in my review of Relic – they’re quite annoying and unnecessary. And I’ve never heard anything like them in any other audiobook. Happily.

The same strange not-quite–sexism continues. The female member of the main cast of characters, now Dr. Margot Green, is still always called Margot, while the female cop is “Hayward”. Although the society lady is referred to as Mrs. Wisher. It’s all just odd; there’s no consistency.

I was glad to see the cast of characters return. I liked them – which was the main reason I continued on to listen to this second book, and while I’ll probably one day pick the series up again. I do like Agent Pendergast, and whatever else I have to say about the narrator and the production of the narration I do like the delivery of Agent Pendergast and his accent. (The SEAL team leader sounds like Jack Nicholson, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

I appreciated that, while this was a continuation of the story begun in the previous book, the setting and circumstances are completely different. Instead of one enclosed (albeit labyrinthine) space like a museum, this takes place around – and under, especially under – the city of Manhattan. And it explores the waterways as divers begin by discovering mysterious corpses and then later SEAL divers get in on the action. I learned the difference between wet suits and dry suits, and how intensely terrifying diving in bad (or no) visibility can be. It was not only different from the previous book, but from pretty much anything I’ve read before – so that was good.

And while the experts are diving, some of the characters we know from the first book are taking their investigation underground, infiltrating the bizarre community of the homeless and disenfranchised that shelters in all the places most would never dare to go. Of course, being me, I kept thinking about the tv show Beauty and the Beast from the 80’s, which was my introduction to the idea of a whole world of tunnels below the City of New York. They’re not nearly as nice in this book.

I liked the storytelling better this go ’round, for the most part. Except …

Exploring the depths of the tunnels, the party comes upon a sort of a shrine, and on it is an object that is so significant that I immediately knew what was about to happen, so I won’t mention it here. In a way the next half hour or so were just … boring as the characters caught up to where I’d leaped. (**Spoiler** – And then Margot has the gall to say “just so you can walk?” Really, honey? “Just”? Let me give your spinal cord a good hard tweak and see how content you are in a wheelchair.)

Once again this wasn’t wall-to-wall good stuff – but there was more good stuff in this one than in the first one. I’ve picked up a few books in this series over the years, so I hope the ratio of good to not keeps going up.

Quotable quote: “I have also found that the louder a person speaks, the less they have to say.” Amen.

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