Tyrannosaur Canyon


Okay, let's start by laying the cards on the table. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are becoming much like Stephen King and Michael Crichton, particularly the latter. They write too much for anything to be particularly great in terms of the writing. If we accept the awkwardnesses of phrasing and the clunkiness of some plot devices and characters, we'll still find a rip-roaring story somewhere in the debris.

However, this book was very nice. Of course, there isn't much you could write about past life that wouldn't enthrall me. From Julian May's Pliocence series to Brian Aldiss's Cryptozoic I'm a sucker for any story about dinosaurs or time travel into deep time.

Well this one isn't so much about that as it is about dinosaur fossil hunting. And it is a doozy. Chases, murders, mad scientists, not-so-mad scientists, frenzied Benedictines, and a raft of other likely and less likely suspects.

I dare not say too much for fear that it will ruin the entire book for you. But suffice to say that it begins with the murder of a prospector searching for some unknown treasure and ends (quite literally) not with a whimper but a bang.

There is, however, on major oversight that I must comment on, because this is what editors and research are for. At one critical juncture in the book, a mineralogist discovers a "clue" in the presence of a "cenozoic trilobite, such as one could buy for three or four dollars."

Oh really? If there were a cenozoic trilobite it would be as astronomically expensive as some of the relics in this book. The simple reason being that the trilobites became extinct at the Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary.

We'll forgive Preston his oversight--after all, where else can you find buckeyballs, nanomachines, dinosaurs, and all the sundry and assorted charaters I started this rant with?

For pure, unadulterated bonehead fun, drop everything and run to your library to get this gem.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 27, 2005 9:23 PM.

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