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Catch-all tag for a series of novels by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, most of which feature FBI Special Agent Aloysius X.L. Pendergast. The novels tend to feature a mix of the police procedural, horror, and thriller genres. More often than not, the stories involve events that seem supernatural, but are eventually show to have a rational (if somewhat far-fetched) explanation.Note that the series has no official title. This entry is named for Agent Pendergast because he appears in it more than any other character.The novels so far (in publication order) are:Agent Pendergast Novels
Arbitrary Skepticism: You'd think that after a mutant dinosaur attacks the Museum of Natural History in New York, and after an army of human-dino hybrids attack the New York subway system, the citizens of New York and especially the bureaucratic decision-makers would be more open-minded concerning some of the wilder, seemingly paranormal events occurring in the later books.
Big Screwed-Up Family: The Pendergasts (who were French Blue Blood originally). The more we learn about them, the more horrifying they become. They all seem to have been brilliant, focused individuals, who were also some combination of crazy, criminal, and charismatic.
Breakout Character: The main character in Relic and Reliquary was anthropology post-grad Margo Green, with FBI Agent Pendergast being a supporting character alongside Lt. D'Agosta. Indeed, in the movie version of Relic the Pendergast character was removed completely to focus on Green and D'Agosta instead. However, Pendergast proved so popular that the authors made him the focus of the following books in the series, so much so that the series of novels has become informally named after him.
Cain and Abel: Pendergast and his brother Diogenes. An inversion of the usual setup, since Diogenes is the younger of the pair.
Create Your Own Villain: While Diogenes's evil was always presented as In the Blood, in Book of the Dead it's revealed that he's the way he is because when they were children, Pendergast shoved Diogenes into a family antique which turned out to be a device designed to drive the occupant insane. Pendergast is quite distraught when he realizes he created Diogenes all along (he'd suppressed the memory up until that point).
Cruel and Unusual Death: Several in this series. Still Life with Crows probably takes the cake with all the murders being done in the fashion of classic children's nursery rhymes.
Police Are Useless: Averted with dedicated, competent characters like Vincent D'Agosta and Laura Hayward. Just as often played straight with their superiors.
Appears to be the case with the Kansas Police in Still Life with Crows, but the habit gets subverted when the Obstructive Cop really just wanted a chance to solve something for himself, and helps Pendergast take down the killer.
The Italian police in Brimstone actually are quite helpful and forthcoming, at least until the end when D'Agosta fingers one of the country's most influential and prominent figures as the Big Bad, right up to convincing the police to storm the guy's fortress... then fails to produce any supporting evidence. Mortified and humiliated, the formerly helpful Italian police captain quickly turns on him.
And additionally Enoch Leng, aka Antoine Pendergast.
Scooby-Doo Hoax: While several of the novels do contain genuine supernatural or fantasy elements, the main threat always turns out to be a human villain masquerading as a more supernatural monster. Even first two novels, Relic and Reliquary, which do have horrific otherworldly monsters running around, have them just be transformed humans.
Brimstone and Cemetery Dance are the most notable, as the villains' schemes follow the formula of a Scooby Doo episode right down to the letter (other than multiple murders being involved, of course).
Self-Deprecation: Pendergast occasionally voices his disdain for modern popular fiction, particularly of the sort that Preston & Child write.
Shared Universe: All of the duo's non-Pendergast novels take place in the same universe as the main series. The Gideon Crews series takes place in it as well.
Two-Part Trilogy: Inverted. The main plot of Brimstone is indeed largely unrelated with the main storyline of Dance of Death and Book of the Dead, but the Diogenes subplot is clearly presented and the novel ends in a definite cliffhanger that leads into the following books.
Tsundere: Margo, somewhat, in the film and in Reliquary (in the latter, it's due to her experience with Mbwun). Susana Cabeza de Vaca in Mount Dragon, who even gets together with Carson.
The Watson: Anyone who works with Pendergast, but especially D'Agosta. Lampshaded in the way Pendergast talks with him. Pendergast even says "Elementary my dear Viola," at the end of Book of the Dead.