The Anomaly
Michael Rutger
Grand Central Publishing 2018
337 pages

Michael Rutger is the pen name for Hollywood screen writer and author Michael Marshall. He also writes as Michael Marshall Smith. The Anomaly is his first book as Michael Rutger. Kindle at Amazon: The Anomaly

Billed as Indiana Jones meets The X-Files, The Anomaly is a thriller, an action adventure, and speculative fantasy fiction all woven into one.

Nolan Moore is trying to make it big on line. An amateur adventurer, he has a blog and a YouTube series called The Anomaly Files, in which he hunts down and investigates mysterious phenomena. He has a loyal following of archaeologists by proxy, who can’t wait for his next trek.

He has assembled an intrepid team including his producer, assistant producer and den mother, cameraman, and sponsor representative, Feather, whose name speaks for itself. Their mission is to explore and document the famed Kincaid Cavern.

Discovered in 1909 and well hidden in the walls of the Grand Canyon, the cavern is said to harbor untold treasures and great mysteries.* Nolan is out to make it his own, so off they go.

What follows is a real adventure, with one particular scene taken right out of Indiana Jones. Whitewater rafting, scaling perilous cliffs, and the caves…They are not for the faint of heart or mildly claustrophobic! The group endures demanding conditions that threaten their very survival. Still, they press on.

What they encounter is truly beyond their wildest dreams and their worst nightmares; artifacts and anomalies that are set to change the course of humanity.

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger is a fascinating read. It is definitely an exciting and fun adventure story that blends reality with human history, legends, religion, and speculation. Reproductions of presumably authentic photos and newspaper articles add a nice touch to the exploration.

Not being familiar with Michael Rutger’s work, I was expecting it to go on as it started; well written, with excellent, believable characters and an engaging and dramatic archaeologically-based plot. Enthralled, I couldn’t put it down. Then it happened: There was what felt to me like a bait and switch, when the discoveries turned more and more menacing and fantastical. Unfortunately, they transcended what I could wrap my brain around.

I know that others with a more sci-fi bent will enjoy it, but although well-written, the last section of The Anomaly was not my cup of tea.

*Despite denials by the Smithsonian that the original expedition actually took place, the book strongly pronounces that Kincaid’s cavern is real. (Google it yourself. It’s out there.) The story, however, is fiction.

J Curran

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