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A Relic

by Max Beerbohm

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A series of bizarre and brutal murders is taking place in the halls of the New York Museum of Natural History, only days before a massive exhibition is set to open. Margo Green knows that the killer is something not human, something that's not even supposed to exist. Where did it come from, how did it get into the museum, and how can it be stopped?

From Publishers Weekly
A monster on the loose in New York City's American Museum of Natural History provides the hook for this high-concept, high-energy thriller. A statue of the mad god Mbwun, a monstrous mix of man and reptile, was discovered by a Museum expedition to South America in 1987. Now, it is about to become part of the new Superstition Exhibition at the museum (here renamed the "New York Museum of Natural History"). But as the exhibition's opening night approaches, the museum may have to be shut down due to a series of savage murders that seem to be the work of a maniac-or a living version of Mbwun. When the museum's director pulls strings to ensure that the gala affair takes place, it's up to a small band of believers, led by graduate student Margo Green, her controversial adviser and an FBI agent who investigated similar killings in New Orleans, to stop the monster-if the culprit is indeed a monster-from going on a rampage. Less horror then action-adventure, the narrative builds to a superbly exciting climax, and then offers a final twist to boot. With its close-up view of museum life and politics, plausible scientific background, sharply drawn characters and a plot line that's blissfully free of gratuitous romance, this well-crafted novel offers first-rate thrills and chills. Film rights optioned by Kennedy-Marshall Productions; audio rights to Brilliance Corp.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
YA?This electrifying thriller opens in an unexplored, mysterious corner of the Amazon basin. A Museum of Natural History expedition is seeking the legendary Kothoga tribe in quest of the vile secret it conceals. The thoroughly terrified tribes nearby infer that the Kothoga and their malicious ways are too awful to discuss with outsiders, except to issue dire warnings. The expedition dissolves, with most of its members opting out of the territory with alacrity, only to perish in a plane crash. Two zealous individuals who heedlessly press on into the jungle vanish, but not before making the horrifying discovery they sought. The crates of the lost expedition, however, arrive back in New York City intact, and are consigned to the basement for cataloging. The story picks up back at the museum where murders have begun to occur with dreadful frequency. Forensics reveal the death blows were delivered with unusual strength, the corpses were dismembered with savage violence, and the perpetrator has mighty unusual DNA patterns. The NYPD, the FBI, and enterprising museum research assistants join efforts to solve the grisly murders but are stonewalled by officials in the head office who plan a revenue-generating exhibition of Amazonian artifacts, recklessly ignoring the impending danger to staff and visitors alike. While the story line contains a bit too much of museum politics and logistics that don't quite mesh, the suspense is sure to please fans of Michael Crichton and Stephen King.?Catherine Noonan, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
One suspects that Child, who has edited numerous ghost and horror anthologies (e.g., Dark Company, St. Martin's, 1984), read Dinosaurs in the Attic (LJ 10/15/86), Preston's wonderful history of the American Museum of Natural History, and decided the pair should collaborate on a horror novel in this wonderfully spooky setting. The heroes (an FBI agent and a journalist) and heroine (a spunky graduate student) wander through basements, sub-basements, and tunnels, searching for the savagely murderous predator inadvertently sent to the museum from the Amazon. Despite the headless bodies turning up all over, the museum director is determined to proceed with the lucrative opening ceremony for the new "Superstition" exhibit. Then the monster gets loose among New York's rich and powerful. This is a real page-turner, part Jaws, part Poseidon Adventure. Essential for horror collections.
Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Far above Crichton's Jurassic Park.

From Booklist
With movie and multiple translation rights already sold, Relic's publicity-hungry publisher is solicitously billing the thriller as "Alien meets Jurassic Park." Although the book's premise is strictly standard horror fare--a flesh-ripping creature runs loose in New York's Natural History Museum--Preston and Child's refreshing penchant for realistic detail elevates their tale far above Crichton's. The apparent relic here is a sacred stone icon that leaves a perished Amazonian expedition and several mutilated bodies in the wake of its shipment to New York. As clawed corpses begin to accumulate in the museum's dim sub-basement, doctoral student Margo Green and iconoclastic evolutionary theorist Dr. Frock become key players in tracking the killer and inadvertently exposing the real relic, a 65-million-year-old virus with the power to completely and insidiously transform human flesh. Preston and Child hit pay dirt with their wonderfully eerie rendition of New York's labyrinthine Natural History Museum. Containing just the right blend of gripping suspense, colorful characters, and credible science, Relic has all the ingredients for well-deserved best-seller status. Carl Hays

"Far above Crichton's Jurassic Park."--Booklist on Relic



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