The Anomaly, Michael Rutger
Having dived into this adventure thriller as a result of reading its enticing book blurb, I immediately had to go and do some googling on the author. Knowing now that this is the latest work of UK author Michael Marshall (Smith), it all makes sense. Also, I appreciated the nod in THE ANOMALY to Marshall’s classic and frightening 2002 thriller THE STRAW MEN (a brilliant book, should you wish to go and snaffle up another by this author after reading THE ANOMALY).
There’s nothing like a good cave thriller and THE ANOMALY is a great example of what can be achieved with not much about but the natural environment to work with. In THE ANOMALY we have all the good ingredients such as an interesting global conspiracy theory, cave creepies, goopy biohazards and best of all, brilliant dialogue delivered by relatable heroes. The interactions between Nolan and Ken are whipsmart funny and an absolute joy to read. What a huge difference the inclusion of a bit of humour makes when let’s face it, everyone is waiting to be popped off the mortal coil as they stumble around in the dark.
A small warning no to be too fussy about the mechanics of the cave system. Why spoil it for yourself? This is sheer escapism reading. Check in your reality at the door and enjoy. THE ANOMALY is a wild ride into the horrors of the dark that would of course (the author being a screenwriter and all) make a terrific film. Thrills, spills, laughs and buckets of the cool stuff. Here’s hoping that we encounter Nolan Moore and his film crew again in another novel as they were straight up perfect and absolutely character gold. More please!
It’s a battle to keep the public’s interest in such a flash happy digital world. Nolan Moore and his production team are suitably buoyed at the prospect of a possible sponsor coming on board to kick their work up to the next level. It’ll mean a ridealong or two, but that’s okay. Nolan has made something of a limping career with the filming of his natural world explorations and possesses a certain set of skills that still mean something in an age where the average concentration span of the critical public is much the same as that enjoyed by your average mosquito. Nolan can admirably think on his feet, and the words will always flow in front of a camera when the interest is there. Still waiting for that big break, Nolan is hopeful that this trip to the Grand Canyon might finally achieve for him (a) recognition for NOT being a crackpot and (b) some further coin to produce a fully fledged documentary series.
The latest project of their little team involves filming Nolan as he attempts to locate a cave that once caused a sensation back in 1909 when its discovery was first reported. The legend of the cave would play well to the interwebs, and it is with this in mind that the crew are determined to make a good show of attempting to find the mysterious cave, even if they doubt that they actually will. No one is more surprised when Nolan when they DO find the cave and no one is more disappointed when its ancient mechanics trap the crew inside. Is it that someone wants to keep them in, or has an unseen hand led them to this cave of horrors?