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Reviews for The Cabinet Of Dr. Leng

by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Here’s what you need to know, in case you haven’t read Bloodless (2021). FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast, with the help of his ward (and, lately, love interest) Constance Greene, narrowly averted disaster in the state of Georgia. Oh, and Constance traveled back in time to 1880. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first Pendergast novel, she’s still there, and she’s desperately trying to prevent returning villain Dr. Enoch Leng (last seen in 2002’s The Cabinet of Curiosities) from murdering members of her family. Meanwhile, back in the present day, Pendergast struggles to find a way to reunite with Constance. The Pendergast novels have always had elements of the supernatural—or the just plain weird—but lately the authors have really been leaning into the weird stuff, with spectacular results. This book is a lot of fun. The writing is crisp and lightly ornate, as usual, and the story is inventive and suspenseful. Kudos!

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Bestsellers Preston and Child’s middling 21st Pendergast novel (after 2021’s Bloodless) finds Aloysius X.L. Pendergast, an FBI agent whose cases tend to involve monsters and the paranormal, still bereft after his ward and love-interest, Constance Greene, traveled in time to 1880 New York City at the end of the previous book. Flash back to 1880. Constance is hoping to prevent Enoch Leng, a sadistic doctor last seen in 2002’s The Cabinet of Curiosities, from causing the deaths of her sister, Mary, and her brother, Joseph. Since this 1880 New York City is in a different universe from the one in which Mary and Joseph died prematurely, Constance, who has barely aged since Leng gave her an elixir to prolong her life back then, believes she can save her siblings and gain a measure of justice without changing her own future. The action alternates between Constance’s efforts in the past and two present-day plot threads: Pendergast’s endeavor to rebuild the machine that enabled Constance’s time travel so he can join her, and a murder case partnering two of his investigative colleagues that feels like filler. This works best as a setup for the next book, which promises to resolve this one’s many dangling plot threads. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Jan.)

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

FBI Special Agent Pendergast and Constance Greene are back, but on different timelines. Catherine has found her way to late 1800s New York, where she's intent on putting an end to events that would lead to the deaths of her sister and brother and also to Dr. Enoch Leng, the serial killer who first terrified readers in the authors' The Cabinet of Curiosities. In the present day, Pendergast frets about reuniting with her. With a 375,000-copy first printing.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Constance Greene, ageless protégé of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, travels back to 1880s New York—the time and place of her childhood—to save the world from the evil Dr. Enoch Leng and prevent him from killing her two siblings. Taken off the meanest streets of New York by Leng when she was 9, Constance was given an experimental elixir by him that succeeded in dramatically slowing down her aging process. More than a century later, now under Pendergast's wing, she is only 20 in physical terms. After belatedly discovering that the essential ingredient of the elixir was taken from the spines of young women, including her older sister, she uses the time machine that appeared in Bloodless (2021) to return to old stomping grounds—where, bizarrely, she encounters her own 9-year-old self. Posing as an Eastern European aristocrat, she insinuates herself into New York society to get next to the falsely celebrated Leng—who has taken the elixir himself—with the aim of killing him. Meanwhile, desperate to protect her from harm—and prevent her from getting stuck in that alternative dimension—Pendergast has the one-use-only time machine retooled. In a largely unconnected plot, his Native American FBI colleague Armstrong Coldmoon investigates two murders connected to the theft of precious Lakota artifacts from a South Dakota reservation. Played as a straight mystery, this part of the novel is efficiently done, if not as much fun as the SF stuff, but it ultimately seems like a time-killing device for the authors. After more than 400 pages, they go the "To Be Continued" route, apologizing for the "inconclusive ending." Now they tell us. A mixed bag that leaves the reader hanging. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.