Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Book review: The Dinosaur Hunter, by Homer Hickam
I found this book an excellent combination of mystery, paleontology, Montana and human relationships. Maybe because I come from a rural background, I really liked the depiction of the ranchers. To say they are rugged individualists would not be overstating it. It may (or may not, I haven't spent much time in Montana) be a reasonable characterization, but I know people who are very similar. That laconic style, where little is said, but much is figured out despite that. I found the paleontology to be well written (except for the flakey paleontologist in charge of the dig). In fact that's probably my biggest complaint--Dr. Pickford is a pretty dodgy dude and pretty lazy too. I have never known someone in charge of a dig to spent so little time working on it. And I don't think that any crew would actually follow someone like that either.
Was it entirely realistic? I'm not sure that the Russian mafia would actually end up in the ranch country of Montana, but it worked for me in this story. However, dig sites are not so easily found--three spectacular sites in one season? Not likely. However,when I briefly set down the book to get a cup of coffee this morning, I noticed that there was a fire truck in front of my condo complex--I never noticed it pull up. And when I returned to the book, I completely missed their departure too. Totally engrossed, I couldn't even bother to be a bit snoopy. And that's a rural habit too--keeping an eye on what your neighbours are doing!
This book hit all the high spots for me: I was a horse-crazy kid, knew the names of all the dinosaurs by the time I was three, I love the outdoors and I adore murder mysteries. Throw in a vegetarian cowboy who is an ex-cop and it was like no mystery I had ever read before.
Review written in Feb. 2013.