The Forgotten Room
Review by: Mark Palm
I know that I have used more than my fair share of bizarre metaphors, but how about this one; Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are like peanut butter and chocolate; two great tastes that go great together. They have wrote some amazing books together, but on their own they are just as good.
The Forgotten Room is Lincoln Child’s fourth suspense novel featuring the world’s only “enigmalogist”, Professor Jeremy Logan. Logan specializes in solving problems that have unusual or even supernatural origins. In The Forgotten Room Logan is summoned to Lux, one of America’s oldest and most prestigious think-tanks, where he was once a member, to investigate the bizarre suicide of one of their most distinguished fellows. During his investigation into the Professor’s death, and the final project on which he was working, Logan discovers some disturbing clues, along with a ingeniously hidden secret room in an abandoned wing of the estate. Sealed off for decades, the room is full of mysterious equipment used for a top-secret experiment known only as “Project S.” Recruiting the Professor’s assistant, Kim Mykolos, and an architect, Kim Flood, whose firm worked on the building, Logan delves into this locked-room mystery.
All of Mr. Child’s strengths are clearly on display in this work. He excels in giving us all of the details we need without slowing the pace or falling into endless exposition. All of the characters are fully realized, from Logan on down to people who only appear for a page or two. They all have interior lives, and all seem to have stories of their own. The prose is stripped, lean and mean, giving the reader what they need to know but never slowing the forward momentum of the narrative. I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for writer who can write “transparent” prose.They may not get the kind of praise they critics heap upon people like Faulkner or Joyce,but in a book like this that skill is vital.
Tons of the plot I have to keep to myself, so that you can savor the surprises the way that I did,but it all works. The mixture of science and the supernatural, making the two shift and morph is one of the techniques that Mr. Child’s utilizes wonderfully in this book, and I kept wanting to stop and research for myself if the things in this book were based on real events, but I could not, because I wanted to get to the end. At the same time I didn’t want it end. When it does end, trust me, it ends with a big, big bang, in more ways than one. So bring on the next Jeremy Logan novel.