Dinosaur Lake

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Dinosaur Lake

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...If you're into monster books, as long as you don't mind genre-blind characters or just want to turn your brain off, you will love this. I mind both, and I...well, I enjoyed it....

Crater Lake has bigger problems than earthquakes, or the volcanic caldera below it: people are going missing. First fishermen, then tourists and reporters. Henry and George, the park rangers, suspect the cause but if they are right, even as the death toll rises they may not be allowed to stop it as politicians and paleontologists come together to protect the creature from Dinosaur Lake.

In some ways the early parts of the book are more than a little similar to Jaws, the book not the film: stupid politicians, the chief (ranger not police) the scientist (paleontologist not oceanographer) and the fisherman who has seen it and no one believes – and, risking spoilers, who turns out to be a Ben Gardner not Quint. It sheds those fairly quickly once the land attacks begin, and moves straight into late-night movie territory, while the attitudes to the creature will be familiar to any reader of Jurassic Park.

It is not a bad B-movie-on-paper. Unfortunately this actually means that it also falls into the worse aspects of the genre: the idiot balls are frequent and women are useless or worse than useless. I am not kidding: when female characters are more effective in “It Came From Beneath the Sea” from 1955, there might be an issue. There is an utter lack of modern technology, or understanding of how it gets deployed (most submersibles are remote operated), and the ranger failing to work with the media and instead trying to hide from them gets a lot of people killed. He also hasn’t learned the technique of the soft lie “Dinosaur? What Dinosaur? We’ve got a large salty that someone’s let loose in the lake. Need to get people in to shoot the bugger.” and then let sixty or so witnesses report what it is with footage.

Fans of monster movies might be a bit disappointed as the story is extremely light on the gore and bloody descriptions. The plot has a few holes, but I can’t go into them without spoilers (e.g. most submersibles are remote-operated). Characterisation is basic: the men are all square jawed or puling cowards, the women don’t run quite fast enough and need rescue, and the monster likes eating people.

And after all that, I find myself looking up the sequel…because none of that matters. It is pulp, it is dinosaurs, it is unlucky or stupid people getting eaten, and if I spent time picking apart all the idiot balls I’d be missing all the running and screaming. It is light entertainment, I’m not sure I’d call it schlocky but at risk of offending the author, this needs a B-movie. It needs a rubber monster and late night showings, and as much tomato ketchup as they can spread on mannequin parts strew on set. Fake lava and red light bulbs and bad, bad, dubbing, and a lot of the dialog taken straight from the book, and it would be wonderful.

If you’re into monster books, as long as you don’t mind genre-blind characters or just want to turn your brain off, you will love this. I mind both, and I…well, I enjoyed it. I could MST3K it, but the story knows it is daft and revels in it. The author even tells you up front “this is not based on scientific data about dinosaurs”…and yes, I could spend hours going on about the flaws, and that would completely miss the point. This was a lot of fun.

Good grammar, excellent spelling and a fantastic pulp-genre cover also help.

This book was featured in the newspaper column - click for details
Rating: 4
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Discussion

atry (25 January 2016)
I love this book. Yeah it has flaws, but it's a dinosaur monster movie (book). Haven't you ever seen Valley of the Gwangi? So bad it is AWESOME!

Guest Posts (11 March 2016)
From: Kathryn Meyer Griffith Thank you Bookangel for showcasing my Dinosaur Lake book (and series) and thank you Bookangel Reviewer...you GOT the book. It's meant as a pulp fun-ride like the sort of SF books I read as a child in the 1950-60's; unbelievable. Most of my other novels are more serious horror, time-travel or murder mysteries. I originally wrote this 23 years ago (that's why the technology is so light) and after publishing 21 other books between 1984-2012 with traditional publishers I self-published this one as an experiment in 2012. It's my best-seller hands down ever. Love your site. I love England and always have!!!

rz3300 (26 September 2016)
Genre-blind characters huh? I am not sure I exactly know what that means or what it looks like, but I am pretty sure I would be okay with it if the overall story is still pretty good. I do like a good monster story too, so shutting my brain off for a little bit sounds good to me.

clair02 (27 September 2016)
Whenever there is horror, science fiction or murder mystery, sign me up! This sounds like a great read and I can't wait to dive into it. I know I don't know what genre-blind means either, but I'm looking forward to finding out after I read this story.

jessica (27 September 2016)
Genreblind: when there's a noise in a dark house, during a powercut, after a warning there's a killer on the loose the genreblind group of teenagers will split up and investigate using small easily blown out candles. (Like every teen slasher movie ever :( ) The genre-savvy ones will barricade themselves in a room and use mobiles to call the police. While getting heavy objects and finding lanterns which aren't easily blown out. (Like Buffy :))

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