cover image The Cabinet of Dr. Leng: A Pendergast Novel

The Cabinet of Dr. Leng: A Pendergast Novel

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Grand Central, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3677-7

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.)