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Still Life with Crows

A Novel
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Series: Pendergast, Book 4
Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Summary

For the first time in unabridged audio!

A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground. Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy? Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land? Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heart.

"As usual, Preston and Child deftly mix the real and the surreal, creating an atmosphere in which everything, for reasons we can't quite nail down, seems a tad off-kilter. Call it creeping paranoia, perhaps, or the dreadful certainty that something awful is about to happen. Whatever you call it, it's a recipe for success." ( Booklist)
©2004 Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child (P)2011 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"As usual, Preston and Child deftly mix the real and the surreal, creating an atmosphere in which everything, for reasons we can't quite nail down, seems a tad off-kilter. Call it creeping paranoia, perhaps, or the dreadful certainty that something awful is about to happen. Whatever you call it, it's a recipe for success." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • Chinnor, United Kingdom
  • 21-12-18

Most enjoyable Pendergast so far...

This is the fourth book in the Preston/Child Pendergast series. For me it has been the best and most enjoyable so far. The first two thirds are particularly gripping. Good dialogue, great characters and a nice portrayal of a small town in the middle of nowhere.

As things build towards a climax however, a few of the characters, sometimes start to behave in less convincing ways. For example (and without providing spoilers) - why would someone, already scared, in a large empty factory, at night, in the middle of a storm and knowing there's a particularly nasty murderer in town - decide that certain noises are kids larking about? Really? There's sometimes a little too much of that sort of thing which leaves me feeling unconvinced at times.

Another slight irritation - and this is something more prevalent in the earlier books at times - is how highly trained teams of people are so easily and repeatedly despatched by rather unsophisticated forces of darkness.

However, all said and done - it's a fun story with some great characters introduced who are pretty convincing and often very amusing. Pendergast, the character that ties all of the books together, is both entertaining and mysterious. Bit by bit we are seeing his back story unfold more with each story.

Scott Brick's narration was, for me, perfect for the story.

If you have found the earlier stories enjoyable - I think you'll definitely find this a great listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent - the best Pendergast... So far

I loved the 'darkness' of the story. Pendergast was his usual mysterious self. Most of the series that I have listen to so far are good and this is one of the best.

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great story, easier listen than previous books

it is easy to listen to this one, good plot and is still very entertaining

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    3 out of 5 stars

American history

A killer afoot with a complex modus operandi, a massive storm and Agent Pendergast!
This is the next in the series and puts Pendergast front and centre along with a bunch of very grisly murders.
The plot works for the most part, and it's fast paced and scary. However, the murderer reveal and end seemed a bit off, but doesn't spoil the story. Recommended for Pendergast fans and goths!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Greeeaaattttt!!!!!

A really good listen - the narrator Scott Brick is very good at the various voices and change of character, does Pendergast really well. All must read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TDot
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 10-05-12

Great novel!

I read a bunch of reviews on line and this one seems like a fan favorite!
If this is what happens when Pendergast goes on vacation; I really wouldn't want to go on a cruise with him.
The endless quiet rural Kansas landscape becomes an isolating, terrifying place.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Corn fields are always scary!!!!

A small town is gradually dying, economically, and now, through its population. While the council try to bring money back in through a grant with the university genetic corn program, something freaky is stalking the populace, bumping them off in apparent ritualistic styles.

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  • Michele
  • 23-07-12

Great escape

Still Life With Crows
by Preston & Child

WI/NWI-4 An old story well-told is always worth listening to again. The setting of the book, taking you into the corn, and the flawless and entertaining performance make this book definitely WI--worth it!

Plot-2 The plot of the book has been used a lot before, even from these authors themselves! It is predictable, and when the big "reveals" came up, I had known what was going to happen almost from the beginning.

Characterization-4 There were a lot of characters so it can be hard to remember the guy who just got eaten, but the main ones were developed well. Their super hero FBI agent was great, the sheriff is the small town hero and well done, and they have a character arc in the young girl who found herself. There is a bad guy and a monster. Gr8!

Violence-5 Huge, amazing, constant violence. Don't leave home without it.

Grossness-5 This is the main feature of this book. People and animals are killed, flayed, boiled, pulled limb-from limb and terrorized and tortured.

Sex-0 No sex, I'm afraid.

Supernatural Elements--2 They hint at supernatural abilities in the FBI agent Pendergast, that he can bring time up to the present. But they don't elaborate.

Crossing the Line-4 To me, crossing the line is brutal murdering animals (especially dogs), or children. Stephen King is the worst offender. Here, they hurt dogs and murder them, so they definitely cross the line of decency. If you are sensitive, skip this book.

Setting-5 This is so well done. I felt throughout the listen that I was in Kansas, in the deep corn, the caverns, in hot summer. A great escape.

Performance-5 Scott Brick is amazing. I can't get enough of him. He can change voices so fast that no mapping occurs--I can't hear the last voice in the new one. He never tires. What a pro!

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jeanie
  • 15-07-19

love the series

I originally downloaded the "book track" version.....big mistake. audible swapped for the regular version, otherwise I wouldnt have gotten thru it. this series tends to take such far fetched ideas and make them plausible. they are truly frightening. I recommend listening, they are getting me thru a tough emotional time...a little fiction helps

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Polly
  • 05-11-12

SCARY, WEIRD, ENGAGING

Preston & Child know how to push my "creepy" buttons. Very good.

I would choose a different narrator. Narrator David Colacci did a much better job in "The Relic" - the first Pendergast novel.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cindy
  • 25-05-14

Much more depth in the supporting characters.

I've been listening to the Pendergast books in order and except for the second one they've gotten better and better.

It's hard to say for sure how much better the story is because the narration on this book is so much better than the last two. But, what really made this one stand out form the earlier books is the depth of the characters. In previous novels I've been frustrated by the simple, stupid, bureaucratic top cop concept. In this book there are officers that do some not brilliant things but they aren't just motivated by glory or covering their own asses as in previous novels. The interactions feel more true to life and the storyline itself, while slightly gory, keeps you trying to figure out what's going on.

The setting is also unique in this book. Overall it was just much easier to get my head into it and it kept my attention throughout. I will be listening to the next book in the series.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathryn
  • 16-09-11

Great Listen

This is the first Preston and Child book I have listened to and it is also the first time I found myself jumping at shadows and peeking around corners because of an odd sound. You are at the edge of your seat within minutes of listening and the characters became personal to me within a few chapters, a first key of great storywriting and Scott Brick ( not my first time listening to) brings the storywriting alive with the storytelling.
Creepy, eerie, funny and real, the story is easy to picture as it is being told wrapping you up in the puzzle ( if not trying to figure it out before being told) The only drawback is sometimes ( I have since read 2 other P and C books) the endings can get a little drawn out leaving the listener to roll their eyes and say outloud get on with it already.
BUT! This is a definate great book to listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 07-05-12

great for most of the book

What made the experience of listening to Still Life with Crows the most enjoyable?

The scene was interestingly set with great characters

What did you like best about this story?

Pendergast. A classic Holmes-esque detective, with Amy being his Dr Watson

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

He played the characters excellently.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At first yes, but it struggled a bit in the last quarter

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the book, but when they were all running around in the caves at the end it became a bit incredible and farcical, and I was struggling to cope with all the new late introductions to the list of characters. The final unveiling of the villain was a bit hard to swallow. The epilogue was a nice return to form though

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dean
  • 16-11-11

Not their best, not even in the top five

I wasn't very impressed with this one. Their books are starting to get a bit formulaic. It's like Scooby Doo: start the book with some intrigue and a hint that something paranormal is happening, then the good guys catch the bad guy and they realize the prosaic, pseudoscientific reality. A bit bland overall.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jack
  • 21-07-11

Finally the Whole Story

I have read and/or listened to every Preston/Child book. And Crows is one of my favorites, only out ranked by Cabinet of Curiosities. I was happy to see that they finally had an unabridged version available, and with Scott Brick you can't go wrong. Pendergast is the one of best characters in modern thrillers, here he shines. Great Read and Listen!!!!

29 of 38 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Phillip
  • 28-01-13

Fairly Ridiculous

The premise for this entire story is rather silly. The set of circumstances that would allow such an event are far-fetched, to say the least. I had read a couple of the Pendergast novels prior to getting this one. I found those to be good, light tales for the purpose of diversion. I found myself unable to suspend belief with this one though. Its one saving grace was the narration by Scott Brick. I'm sure devotees of the series will love it...others may want to skip this one.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ginger
  • 11-08-11

best suspense story of the year!

this novel was the best suspense audio book that I have listened to this year. If I could give it 6 stars, I would. The plot was well written, twisting and turning, keeping you on the edge of your seat...never boring...the characters were well developed and the descriptive powers of Preston and Childs brought everything to life for me....i.e. after the turkey packing plant description, I'm not sure if I'll ever eat turkey again! I had a clear picture in my mind of the whole setting and happenings. The narrator, Scott Brick was also excellent. I never got tired of his voice and he performed all the characters without flaw. If you are looking for a unique detective story that keeps you listening until the wee hours of the night, then this is the book for you. This is how all audio books should be!
enjoy!

19 of 27 people found this review helpful