It all happens so fast. Ten people in a coffee shop, going through their morning routine. Then a ticking sound. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
And all oIt all happens so fast. Ten people in a coffee shop, going through their morning routine. Then a ticking sound. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
And all of a sudden the group of strangers find themselves and the coffee shop at the end of the Cretaceous, on a prehistoric riverbank.
From there, author Geoff Jones puts his characters through the wringer, as they struggle to comprehend what happened to them and why, while dealing with injuries and dinosaur attacks.
First, there’s Edmontosaurus, a deadly herbivore that feels threatened by the newcomers encroaching on its territory. The group finally manages to scare away the herd by banging spoons and trays. Then there’s a T-rex, who is drawn to the scene by the loud noises, multiple angry Triceratops’, hungry pterosaurs, and a persistent Deinosuchus (a giant crocodile), just to name a few of the group’s obstacles.
Each quick chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, and there’s plenty of terror and gore. Everything is so fast paced, that each chapter feels really crammed full of information, about the characters and their backstories, the challenges they’re facing, and their plan for getting back home.
And yes, there is a way to get home, because it turns out the coffee shop was accidentally transported back in time by a group of scientists who work on the floor above the shop. Geoff gives clues throughout the story, and his characters slowly piece together what happened. It’s that age-old story of smart scientist gets government contract to build something cool, scientist gets arrogant and rushes the job, and scientist and his team suffer dire consequences from it.
The title of the book is a spoiler too, when you think about it. The book starts with ten people, and ends with four. However, Geoff has a great twist at the end—and it’s action-packed, of course.
The ten people who get transported are all very distinct and full of personality. There’s William, the level-headed mailman with two young sons who like dinosaurs—and the only one in the group who can name any of the dinosaurs they encounter.
There’s also Lisa, the brave owner of the coffee shop, and her employee Beth, Al, a man with a complicated past who has a crush on Lisa, and Tim, a loyal young man still figuring out how to make his own decisions. Others in the group include Hank and Callie, who are engaged though Callie is much younger than Hank, Patricia, the type-A personality who wants to be in charge, Helen, the elderly woman afraid of being left behind, and Morgan, the punk kid who provides comic relief.
Overall, The Dinosaur Four is a really enjoyable book, especially for dinosaur enthusiasts. As Geoff Jones puts it, the book is “an adult B-movie time-travel thriller.” And really, you can’t possibly go wrong with that....more
If you like crime fiction, then The Perfectionist by Simon Duke is for you.
The story spans more than twenty years, and it begins with a mysterious, hoIf you like crime fiction, then The Perfectionist by Simon Duke is for you.
The story spans more than twenty years, and it begins with a mysterious, horrific murder in a small town in Iowa in 1988. At the time, a young reporter named Gerry Stokes gets involved, and is told to help cover up the murder. Frustrated, he tells no one about the murder or the cover up, and ends up moving to Chicago, where he becomes a senior reporter at The Chicago Tribune.
Gerry is an astute man, though he does not have any close relationships in his life, and he has all but severed ties with his immediate family. However, in 2010 the gruesome murder from his hometown surfaces again, when the granddaughter of the dead man, Sarah Howard, finds Gerry and demands to know what happened.
This sends Gerry on what ends up being a three year obsession, as he uncovers a bigger, and more shocking story than just the one murder. He realizes he is dealing with a serial killer, one who is both smart and careful.
During these three years, Gerry undergoes a transformation, where he becomes more empathetic and even likeable. He travels, further hones his investigative journalism skills, and manages to make amends with his older brother. He stops being someone who spends his free time on booze and paying for sex, and thinking dirty thoughts about all the attractive women he encounters.
Along the way, he learns about, and studies, some very graphic, terrible murders. At times The Perfectionist comes across as a well-researched article, which fits in with Gerry Stoke’s job as a journalist. There are some grisly details not for the faint of heart, and Simon Duke does a good job of keeping you guessing about who the killer is, plus there’s a nice surprise twist at the end.
The book sometimes jumps around in years, which can be confusing, and it wasn’t always clear how they were related. Gerry also has some intriguing recurring dreams that didn’t seem to tie in to the rest of the story that strongly.
However, Gerry Stoke’s journey as a reporter was enjoyable to follow along—he is so resourceful and confident that he is able to connect a lot of dots that even law enforcement can’t connect. At times, his reasoning for keeping law enforcement out of the loop seems off base, though that can be chalked up to a character flaw. The way he does handle law enforcement once they are involved seems almost too easy, at least towards the end as they close in on their killer.
The action-packed, climactic scene at the end—which as the reader I came to expect will happen about halfway through the book—was satisfying, though it felt like it was over quickly.
Overall, The Perfectionist is a thrilling read. And it’s fun to watch Gerry Stokes grow as a person and have real human relationships. Don’t read it alone at night though—it can definitely make you jumpy....more