Laura is the host of Creature X, a cryptozoology show, despite being an avowed skeptic. In search of the Ropen, she and her team go to a remote island in Papua New Guinea, where they become entangled in a mystery when a dead man is found in one of their tents.
Though billed a mystery, this is more of a good old-fashioned action-adventure novel, complete with martial arts, gun fights, and a far-off setting. What sets this book above many other old-fashioned action-adventure novel is that the people behave like people. They feel fear and have compassion for others, and their bonds are born of more than adversity. I enjoyed the fast pace of the story, and while I was able to predict some twists (if more out of a gut feeling than on page evidence), others excitingly blindsided me.
However, I did have some issues with this book. Many of the characters, though likable, felt a touch bland. This is not helped by the enormous cast, which gave few characters screen-time and made it difficult to connect with the side characters especially. For example, I thought the creationist scientist would have a much greater role than he did. However, he seems to have been included mostly as a nod to how young earth advocates are involved with the story of the Ropen. I also didn’t love how the mystery unfolded, as Laura and the others didn’t do much detecting, and the villain reveals themselves without much reason. I think this book would be better served were it not classed a mystery.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that part of what affected my enjoyment of the story was that this was the third book in the series, and I did not read the first two. I think I missed out on some key backstory for the characters, and also on getting to know some of the crew better. Accordingly, I have not let this affect my rating.
Overall, this was an enjoyable, fast-paced read, and I plan to check out the first two books.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.