Review: The Anomaly - Michael Rutger
Genre: Thriller/Horror, Sci-Fi
Published: Zaffre Publishing, June 2018
My rating: 4/5 stars
Horror-thrillers are usually something a little out of my comfort zone, but if you’re going to pitch a book as “Indiana Jones meets the X-files” you can bet your bottoms I’m going to be all over that! Sprinkle in a dash of Buzzfeed Unsolved (a personal guilty pleasure of mine) and the result, indeed, is about as close as you can get to The Anomaly.
We follow a filmcrew of 7 on their journey to find a long hidden cave that is rumored to exist in the Grand Canyon for their web-show “The Anomaly Files”. Crew leader and webhost Nolan hopes that finding proof of its existence will be the breakthrough the show needs to help elevate it out of the realm of fringe conspiracy, into real television. The crew gets more than they bargained for when they not only find the cave, but become trapped in its integrate network of tunnels and chambers, with possibly more than just the darkness to fear…
I was honestly worried that we were going to go into campfire-story territory of “supernatural (preferably smiling) monster in cave hunts people and nothing gets explained”, and I’m happy to say that that was not what happened. The Anomaly was far more developed than that. This is the type of thriller in the vein of Blake Crouch, that will have you burning midnight oil in order to finish it, because you just can’t wait to find out what happens on the next page. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and genuinely rooted for and cared for the characters to survive. I was on the train reading it, and actually considered just getting off on a later stop, so I could finish my chapter, which for me, is the sure fire sign of a good thriller.
Michael Rutger (pseudonym for Michael Marshall) is originally a screenwriter, and it shows, as the book plays out like a movie in your head whilst reading. It’s fast paced, and every scene matters to the story. Not to mention that if this ever gets made into a movie, I’ll be first in line at the cinema.
My only point of critique would be the ending. Getting your characters into too deep of trouble risks you having to scramble for a rushed solution, and unfortunately, that happened a little here. It wasn’t bothersome enough to affect my enjoyment of the rest of the book, but a bit of a thorn in the paw of an otherwise lion of a book.
What more can I say…? Fast-paced story, snarky characters, plottwists and suspense: great thriller! If you are a fan of Blake Crouch, this is for you. Also, if “Indiana Jones meets X-files” doesn’t sell you, I honestly don’t know what will…
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