Evan Marshall is a paleo-ecologist for Northern Massachusetts University. He’s participating in an Alaskan excavation north out the Arctic Circle, where a smilodon has been found preserved in ice on a cave. The science team has corporate sponsors, and they send in a documentary team to shoot the unveiling. Only, as it turns out, that’s not a saber-toothed tiger in the ice……
Much of this novel revolves around the conflict between the science team and the director of the documentary, Emilio Conti, who is a fairly despicable little creature. He’s so unlikable, in fact, that I can’t help but wonder if Child based him off an actual person who pissed him off at some point.
And that, ultimately, is the problem with this book, and why I don’t think this is as good as it’s predecessor (which itself, while entertaining, wasn’t exactly a great piece of literature). The antagonists are simply not portraits of real people. Think: the EPA in Ghostbusters, or the police in Die Hard. These are the kind of characters who exist only to be in the way of our protagonist. They aren’t people, themselves. They are obstructions to be overcome. They exist only to pad the narrative and make the journey more difficult, which results in them being insufferable more than actually threatening.
Compounding this problem is that the “journey” of our hero isn’t particularly enthralling. The quasi-mysterious events of Deep Storm are absent, here; replaced with a paint by numbers approach to plot. There are no twists, the turns are pretty clearly telegraphed, and the denouement was lackluster.
The most perplexing thing, though, is that the star of this series, Dr. Jeremy Logan (an “enigmologist”) is barely present (after only having a cameo in Deep Storm). Even the star of this franchise is barely interested in it.
I previously called Lincoln Child “a less message-y Michael Crichton”, and this book is almost a lower tier Crichton: Congo or Timeline. If Michael Crichton is the Stephen King of the techno-thriller…
…Lincoln Child is the Dean Koontz. His books are perfectly serviceable, but nothing to get worked up over.
With that said, I probably will read the remaining two books in the series. They may be mindless brain candy, but they aren’t too harmful.
Not previously reviewed.