Authors: Douglas Preston & Lincoln Childrelic
Publisher: Tor
Date: 1995
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
ISBN: 9780812543261
Price: 7.99
Number of Pages: 468
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, E-Book, Audio

Rating Scale: 5Q, 4P

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews

Links to Reviews

Reader’s Annotations

A monster is loose and no one is safe.

Plot Summary

This story takes place at the New York Natural History Museum, where grisly murders are beginning to take place. The first of which are two boys that have been brutally murdered, with their hypothalamus ripped out. This draws the attention of the police department, led by Lieutenant D’Agosta. The FBI also gets involved, as agent Pendergast begins to lead the team. Margo, a botanist at the museum, begins to get involved and suspects a connection between the murders and a shipment from the Amazon. Despite the murders, the museum goes ahead with the big debut of their supernatural exhibit but things quickly turn for the worse when more bodies are discovered.

Critical Evaluation

I think this is a fantastic book. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It did have some science background thrown in, but it didn’t bother me that much. People often compare this to Michael Crichton, but I think this book does a better job of balancing the more science-heavy aspects with the suspense and horror of the story. The last quarter of the book is one of the most exciting final acts I’ve read in a long time. While the characters aren’t as well developed as I would like, I think the story more than makes up for this. The monster is also really unique and the twist at the end was well-done and interesting. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Appeal Factors

Fast-paced, suspenseful, gritty


Contest by Matthew Reilly
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Awards & Lists

Garden State Teen Book Awards (New Jersey): Fiction (Grades 9-12)
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 1996

Discussion Ideas

• Discuss the character of Whittlesey and his transformation.
• Discuss the twist ending and why the authors chose to have the audience learn about it and not the characters.

Justification of Selection

I was interested in reading something suspenseful and a little adventurous. This book, although a little more horror than I wanted, immediately caught my eye. The premise sounded creepy and a lot of fun. I liked the idea of it being set in a museum.


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