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Title: Dinosaur Lake
Series: Dinosaur Lake
Author: Kathryn Griffith
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Format: Kindle digital edition
Henry, former New York City cop, now Chief Ranger, is dealing with budget cuts for his staff while the park he oversee’s is dealing with some minor earthquakes. One of the tremors unearth’s some heretofore unknown dinosaur bones and a group of archeologists descend on the find, like vultures on the rotting carcass of a cow. At the same time, long time members of the community are going missing, the group of local homeless people reports a monster eating some of their number and Justin, the ONE GOOD ARCHEOLOGIST, finds tracks leading from the water. Big tracks.
A dinosaur exists, it is smart and it wants to eat people, a lot of people. For some reason it is now exclusively up to Ranger Henry and his trusty cohorts [ex FBI Agent that would make Fox Mulder blush, older but stern submarine operator and of course, THE GOOD ARCHEOLOGIST] to go down into the subterranean caves, while a huge earthquake is predicted, and hunt down the dinosaur so that the namby pambies in the Gubba’ment can’t capture it and cause even more havoc.
What I wanted: a story where a dinosaur caused havoc, ate people and then died in glorious battle.
What I got: a story where a dinosaur caused havoc, ate people and then died in glorious battle. However, that was only the backdrop of the story. The real story was about how sensitive Henry, Justin and the other men were and how they all bonded and formed everlasting ties of friendship [until the dinosaur ate some of them of course] and with the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP, defeated the mean ol’ dinosaur.
At the 60% mark I started skimming. At the 75% mark I started reading 1 page in 10. And by the end I still got the story but without all the clutter.
This was over 400 pages and it should have been cut down to just under 300. To do that however, the characterization would have had to have been axed, the action ramped up and a lot of the extraneous weight gotten rid of. I don’t need to know about Henry’s daughter’s bad life choices and how she’s getting her life back on track and how Justin is falling in love with her. I don’t need to know the backstories or family histories of the 2 men driving the submersible. Sure, it makes them “real” characters but so what? Those 2 men were dinosaur food.
Now my main problem. Henry. Loving, gentle, caring Henry. Who is supposed to be an Ex New York City cop. Who got shot by a 10 year old and had to plug the kid. He is an emotional Gary Stu and really made me sick. In one instance, his wife sneaks into the danger zone to get pictures of the dinosaur to save the local paper even though Henry has reiterated over and over and over how dangerous and smart the dinosaur is. So of course she runs into the dinosaur and Henry’s best friend saves her, at the expense of his own life. Does Henry get angry or upset? Oh no. He gently and carefully takes care of his wife because she almost died and he really needs to focus on that. Forget about that her selfish actions DIRECTLY caused the death of a good man, for no point. In fact, it was probably better that George died that way, so he wouldn’t end up in a nursing home or something. The “bonding” scene between Henry and the former FBI Agent was what made me throw up in my mouth though. FBI-man tells a story about a whole town going missing and how the gubba’ment covered it all up. It added pages to the book without adding one bit to the dinosaur eating people.
The dinosaur eating people was the blank canvas for everything else to be painted on. It was the paper while it should have been the painting. Frustrating as Phrack.
There are 2 more books in the Dinosaur Lake series, but since I’m guessing they’re in the exact same vein as this, I’d rather cut off my toes than read them. Because if I can read 1 page in 10 and still get the story, something is very wrong.