Cold days and wet weather gave me a little indoor time and, ignoring the dust bunnies hopping in and out of the den, I settled in to finish Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston. What fun! This one is a definite for the shelves, and we will watch for his other books, but how do I classify it?
It's a mystery with the critical clue given in the prologue to the book and not revealed until the end, but the plot is straightforward. The bad guys are the bad guys and the good guys are exactly what they seem to be--good guys. No surprises. No unexpected twists. Just a thrilling good ride.
It is a thriller. Like a good Saturday matinee, it has cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger (Literally! The plot is set in the canyons of the desert southwest!), and one night in particular I found myself reading through the night and into the morning, looking for a place to put a bookmark. Nonetheless, I figured out early on that Preston wasn't going to kill off any of his good guys after the initial murder, and though the threats were real, my anticipation was in how they were going to survive rather than if they were going to survive.
It's an adventure. Dinosaur hunter, power-hungry scientist, CIA, top-secret G-men, fossils, Anasazi ruins--and all of it in my favorite northern New Mexican landscape--Delight! However, it's too much thriller to go on the adventure shelves...hm... there is that element of mystery...
It does have its flaws. There are times when I had to suspend incredulity for a time to get past the plot devices that seemed a little strained (When a special-ops group is so critical to world security that the leader can break all laws and has no rules, how can an ordinary army guy thwart the mission with impunity?), but the read was such a romp that I really didn't care.
Preston's characters are excellent; even the villains are fully-fleshed with their good traits. One particularly nice touch is the killer's surprise that perfectly legitimate activities make him more money with less effort than crime. The monk, Broadbent and Sally will appear later in other books by Preston. He leaves them teamed up and ready for the next adventure.