Still Life with Crows Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Still Life with Crows

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Warner, Jul 2003, 25.95, 435 pp.
ISBN: 0446531421
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Without official sanctioning, FBI Special Agent Pendergast arrives in Medicine Creek, Kansas to investigate a serial killer leaving behind eerie signatures to include a mutilated corpse inside a circle of crows “nailed” to stakes. The elegant Pendergast seems like a polished apple among cornstalks as his urbane lifestyle clearly sticks out in this rural community.

He hires as his chauffeur and overall local guide rebel without a cause teenage girl Corrie Swanson, who also sticks out in the middle of the cornfields. Additional murders occur and Pendergast, using the Bhutanese meditation technique Chongg Ran, links them to a nineteenth century Indian massacre of outlaws. As the local law enforcement resent Pendergast's interference on the case, the killer abducts Corrie forcing Pendergast to follow into the cat's cave to try to rescue his local escort before she becomes the latest victim.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's tale is fun though STILL LIFE WITH CROWS seems like a weaker than usual entry. Pendergast is like a debonair modernized cross between Holmes and Flint with Corrie being his “Watsonette”. The story line is crisp, but the killer seems unacceptable once Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs reveal the identity of the culprit. Fans of the series will appreciate the latest tale, but newcomers will be better suited to try previous works like THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES to obtain the full rich flavor of the tea.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Still Life with Crows

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   escape/rescue from kidnappers Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   government investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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