Hugh Paxton’s Blog hates these two guys! Douglas Preston! Lincoln Child! I spent this morning waving a copy of Still Life with Crows under my daughter’s nose and ranting. “I can’t write this!” I explained. “They can!”
“Have you been drinking, Daddy?”
“No. But it’s a very fine idea. I’ll start now. Where’s the bottle? Look at it!”
She had a look and was what she is. An eleven year old girl. Not impressed. There was a crow on the cover and she couldn’t understand the title.
I kept the book and as we met a Bangkok traffic jam I decided to give her a taste of chapter one. Perhaps it was my melodious voice, the enthusiasm, the frail attempts at a Kansas accent (I’m English sound pompous and there’s damn all I can do about it) but my daughter was caught. She was alert, hungry for more, she suggested that I stopped trying to be American, and I agreed. The sheriff started speaking with a pompous English accent. Everybody else in Kansas did too. It all became very Oxford English. But Annabel didn’t give a hoot. She wanted the story. It could have been delivered in Gaelic, or with a rough Fenian Turf Lodge snarl, or a Cumbrian plod, a frisky bit of Geordie or a Millwall chant, it could even have been American. She wanted the story. And that’s why I hate Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They keep getting it right! And I keep buying all their books. Annabel wants chapter two. In a perfect world she would get all the chapters in one go. I’ve bundled her into bed and we’ll see how chapter two gets on tomorrow. I know what will happen. She’ll want chapter three. Then four.
I read lots of books. If nothing goes wrong I can read four in a day. When a book is good I treasure it but then feel an urge to lend it to somebody. They don’t return it. They probably don’t read it. I must stop this behaviour!
But this partnership Lincoln and Child is in my opinion unique. They thrive on the unusual, the historic, the horrors and pleasures of life. They know how to tell a story, they lace it with facts and personal observations. And they keep doing it. Time after time, book after book. Nothing quite like them and what I really like is the way they answer emails. It must be a tremendous irritation. I sent one, just to see if it worked, and it did.
Their books are good. Really good. Mine are, by comparison, OK. Sort of. Here comes another!
Give it a go!
You won’t be disappointed!
From: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2015 11:56 PM
Subject: Pendergast and the Cave of the Glowing Skulls
|Greetings to our valued readers,
This is Doug writing to you this time. As some of you may know, I recently returned from an expedition into a valley deep in the Honduran jungle. We explored an unknown and mysterious Pre-Columbian city that had been first spotted in 2012 from the air. I wrote a short news item for the National Geographic website and I’m now working on a longer article about the subject.
While in Honduras I visited a place near Catacamas called Las Cuevas de Talgua, otherwise known as The Cave of the Glowing Skulls. About a half a mile into the cave system, up in a narrow gallery reachable only by several precipitous ladders, is a necropolis containing some two hundred ancient skeletons, encrusted with gypsum crystals that glitter in the flashlight beam. The photo at the top of this newsletter is one I took of a burial almost completely shrouded in crystals. Can you make it out?
You may wonder why I am telling you this in a newsletter devoted to A.X.L. Pendergast. Here’s a little known fact: one of Pendergast’s more eccentric ancestors (and he had some truly unusual ones) was Lt. Col. Percival Harrison Fawcett, the famed South American explorer. Fawcett and his so disappeared in the Amazon jungles in 1925, searching for the legendary "Lost City of Z." Their fate remains unknown to this day. Because of this ancestor, Pendergast has long taken an interest in such things. In the not too distant future, we have been informed he may take a holiday in the jungle, to investigate a long-standing mystery of perplexing depth and intricacy. This enigma may involve a necropolis very like the Cave of the Glowing Skulls… Stay tuned for more.
While I was traipsing around in the jungle, Linc was putting the final touches on our latest Pendergast novel, due to be published this November. We submitted it with the usual trepidation. To our relief, our editor tells us he absolutely loves it! The only problem is, Linc and I haven’t yet been able to think of the ideal title for the book. (In the case of TWO GRAVES, you may recall, the final title was suggested to us by a couple of outstanding readers.)
Speaking of outstanding readers, one such, Chris Royal, who just returned from his sixth tour of duty in Kuwait and Iraq (thank you, Chris!), has written a most amazing cookbook of the various foods mentioned in the Pendergast novels. It’s called Beyond Riverside Drive: Recipes Inspired by the Pendergast Novels.
Based on this cookbook, Pendergast has asked Mrs. Trask to prepare a selection of recipes for his tasting pleasure (or displeasure, we aren’t sure which). In the next newsletter, Pendergast will share his notes — and some of the more interesting and unusual recipes — with you. So stay tuned.
With warm regards,
Doug and Linc
Some rather good links:
To pre-order signed, first-edition copies of Linc’s upcoming solo novel, The Forgotten Room, click here. It should be noted that there are limited quantities, so if you want one, please order now….
To buy the "Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence", an historically accurate guidebook which Doug contributed to, for the adventurous tourist only…
Our Facebook page…
Doug’s Instagram account…