By Charles Lemoine • ★★★★★
I didn't visit the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A. until I was a grownup with kids, but I found it fascinating. So reading Preservation, a mystery/thriller with a brilliant female scientist who years to unlock the mystery of a prehistoric woman whose remains were found in the Tar Pits, was right up my alley.
The scientist, Mariska Stevenson, is ambitious and driven—and sometimes annoyingly headstrong. In spite of her flair for the melodramatic, Mariska is a hero you can't help but root for her as she uncovers puzzle piece after puzzle piece.
Preservation is a real page-turner, especially after the bodies start piling up and the attempts on Mariska's life get more and more brazen. The interplay of modern technology and archaeology works well, and should appeal to Kathy Reichs fans.
The theme of identity is strong as well: where you came from can either define you, ruin you, or inspire you. That common thread connects through the narrative and has repercussions for many of the characters—especially Mariska.
—Paul Austin Ardoin