The Daily Bongo

Tyrannosaur Canyon

I have been on the lookout for authors who write in a similar style to Michael Crichton. I wanted something with a science or technical flavor, but full of suspense, action, maybe even a tinge of mystery. While looking around on the web, I ran across a recommendation for Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child books. Preston and Child write as a team and have delivered several books together and individually loaded with thrills and horror. I decided to start with a solo effort by Douglas Preston, titled Tyrannosaur Canyon.

Tyrannosaur Canyon is the second in a series of books featuring Tom Broadbent, a wealthy veterinarian. In this book, Broadbent is out riding in the desert near his home in New Mexico when he hears shots and finds a man, Stem Weathers, very near death. Broadbent brings Weathers back to life with the help of CPR long enough for the man to pass a notebook to Broadbent, extracting a promise from Broadbent to give the notebook to his daughter, Robbie, and not to involve the police. Broadbent takes the police to the location of the Weathers' body, but by the time they get there, the body is gone, buried by the shooter. Before he knows it, Broadbent is neck deep in trouble. He's being stalked by Weathers' murderer, Jimson Maddox, and by the police chief, who believes that Broadbent knows more than he is telling. In order to figure out who Robbie is, Broadbent enlists the aid of a monk in training, Wyman Ford, who just also happens to be a former CIA analyst. Ford is skilled in deciphering code, and the notebook Broadbent has is filled with numbers that look like code. What could Weathers have found in the desert that's of such interest? Ford deciphers the code and discovers that it is ground-penetrating radar readings that when printed, show a complete Tyrannosaurus Rex. We find out that Iain Corvus, a curator at the American Museum of American History, had hired Jimson Maddox. Maddox gives Corvus a piece of fossil that Maddox got from Weather's belongings after the murder. Corvus gets a lowly Ph.D. student, Melodie Crookshank, to do research on the fossil. When Melodie finds what she refers to as Venus particles, even more heck breaks lose. A shadowy figure named Masago hunts down and kills Corvus, and then starts tracking down Broadbent, his wife, Sally, Ford, and the T. Rex.

As you can probably tell from the description, the book takes the reader back and forth between the action in the desert and in the lab in the basement at the American Museum of Natural History. It fit in well with my desire for a techno-thriller, providing thrills against a science background. I found myself engrossed in the story, wonder what would happen next, yelling at the characters when danger approached, wondering about the Venus particle, where it would all end, and who would survive. I would definitely recommend the book for anyone suffering from Crichton withdrawal. I will definitely getting The Codex, the book that precedes Tyrannosaur Canyon, and Blasphemy, the book that follows. I'll also be checking out the Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston books.

April 7, 2009