The Anomaly by Michael Rutger (4 out of 5)

I had to stick with this one. The 3 books prior to this were all 2 stars or less, so I was in a real rut with my reading the last week. I went on Goodreads yesterday, and almost every review was 5 stars, with a few 4’s, but overall? NOT shit. Which was a great start given what I had read before settling in with this one. I think I really needed a little horror in my life. I mean, watching the news everyday clearly wasn’t filling the void. This was a pleasant surprise. Imagine Indiana Jones but NOT a serious archaeologist, rather the host of a reality web series that elitist archaeologists dismiss, and conspiracy theorists love. That’s our main character, Nolan Miller. So I should revise that description. Think of Indiana Jones and Fox Mulder, but with a supporting cast of staffers, a close friend, and some hangers-on that aren’t what they appear to be. Nolan heads off with his crew to retrace the steps of an explorer named Kincaid, who claimed to fame that he had found a hidden cavern in the Grand Canyon. Nolan and his merry crew hope they find this, because his web series is having some serious cash flow and credibility issues. They find what they believe is Kincaid’s lost cavern, but the cave turns on its occupants quickly. And shit gets downright freaky real fast. As far as the level of gore goes, there isn’t too much, but that’s not to say it isn’t effectively done. For it is! The pace is kind of slow and jaunty with this book; that is the only drawback. I like my horror to be drawn out, ala Nick Cutter, Stephen King, and the occasional relationship. This is what I would call “Horror Lite”. Which sounds like an insult, but it’s not. It’s a more casual, laid-back type of horror. With banter amongst the characters, rare moments of reflection and deep soul searching, and then the killer croc climbs out of the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Florida McDonald’s play area and eats the children. That’s what this book is; laid-back with the certainty that evil is lying under the tarp on the neighborhood ice cream truck. Why not 5 stars, then? I like my flesh to crawl and to check my vents before bed, if I am reading something in this genre. This book did not bring either of those to fruition. It did, however, produce in me a healthy appreciation and connection with and for the characters. The setting? Been there, done that, loved it. And it helped me visualize the book that much better. I didn’t quite get what Nolan’s pining for his ex-wife had to do with the battle ahead of him; no place at all, so that subtracted a star. If she had some place in the plot (besides heading up a shady charitable foundation that had something to do with what happens at the cavern), I wouldn’t quibble. But the internal doubting took up a lot of time that could have been devoted to more gore. Just sayin’.

Overall, I think that our author (and Hollywood screenwriter) did a damn fine job with this book. I think it would make a fine movie. I will go further and say that Jon Hamm would do a hell of a job as Nolan Miller, and his former Mad Men buddy John Slattery could join him as the sarcastic, drinking bud Ken. You heard it here first! This book comes out June 21, 2018, from the folks at Grand Central Publishing. Well worth a read.

~ by generationgbooks on May 6, 2018.

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