Orin's Reviews > Neanderthal

Neanderthal by John Darnton
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Sep 11, 10

Read from September 09 to 13, 2010

Plot holes, flat characters, cliched twists, poor research, logical flaws, and a horrifyingly unsatisfactory ending that uses Bruce Springsteen to terrorize primitive man. What's not to like?

This is the kind of book that lovers of prehistoric fiction, or lovers of techno-thriller (read: Crichton and imitators) should love. Being both, I must report painfully otherwise. Why? Just plain sloppiness. Understand that I don't have a problem with dumb: give me a simple plot and a juicy payoff and I can be happy. However, if the author insists on poking me in the eye by writing inconsistent descriptions, destroying objects then bringing them back pages later unexplained, switching between different points of view unannounced, forgetting his own character's motivations, developing threads only to discard them needlessly, and refusing to use an editor for more than spellcheck, well, I WILL THROW YOUR BOOK IN THE GARBAGE.

I am beset by a few lingering questions: how do you watch an avalanche from the mouth of a cave under it? Are non-extinct cave bears just a bonus any time you discover stone age people? Why is there so much firewood above the treeline? Do you know the difference between paleontologist and archeologist? Did you read the books and articles in your bibliography? Have you ever been camping? Have you ever met a scientist, a Russian, or a military officer? Have you ever met a woman who likes the phrase "pubic mound?" Do you hate your readers? Do you hate Bruce Springsteen? Have I proved my point yet?
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