Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dinosaur Hunters by Homer Hickam ***

You remember Homer Hickam, the author of the memoir Rocket Boys, which was made into the movie October Sky. His latest novel is The Dinosaur Hunter. Mike Wire is a former LAPD Homicide Detective (stop me if you heard this before), now living as a ranch hand in eastern Montana. As you might have guessed to setting and characters are comfortable and familiar: taciturn, tough, independent ranchers, mistrusted outsiders, survivalists concerned about black helicopters, guns, rodeo, two-stepping, ...

The new wrinkle is Dr Pickford, a paleontologist, with his two sexy lady assistants. Indeed, much of the book is dedicated to the details of paleontological field work, theories about the life of T Rex, of course, the famous K-T extinction - incidentally not caused by the meteor this time.

This is a book with written with Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park etc.) in mind, but I felt that thriller/mystery part of the formula was patched on with rather flimsy plotting and resolved in a deus ex machina way.

In this end, this is a pleasant read of comfortable cliches about modern cowboys and the idyllic life of the untamed west. If you expect no more than a pleasant few hours of reading, you will not be disappointed.

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