Thursday, 27 April 2017

Book Review: Jurassic Dead by Rick Chesler

An Antarctic research team hoping to study microbial organisms in an underground lake discovers something far more amazing: perfectly preserved dinosaur corpses. After one thaws and wakes ravenously hungry, it becomes apparent that death, like life, will find a way. Environmental activist Alex Ramirez, son of the expedition’s paleontologist, came to Antarctica to defend the organisms from extinction, but soon learns that it is the human race that needs protecting.

My Review: 
I loved the cover and anything with rampaging dinosaurs always gets my attention but I found this book surprisingly disappointing. There were plot holes that you could drive a truck through and it did affect my thoughts on the book.

The book gets off to a strange start with environmental activists Alex and Tony going to where the US and Russian teams are racing each other to drill on their dig sites in Antarctica. They want to protect the lake of biological organisms that the teams are drilling blowing up both operations. Yes we want to protect this fragile area of importance by blowing the whole area to hell. Where exactly does that make sense??? Of course it goes wrong and Tony is attacked by Russian men infected with something deadly. Alex flees to the US side of the lake where his furious dad is leading that team.

His father Marcus has discovered what is believed to be dead preserved dinosaurs from the frozen water but Alex gets a close up view as he crosses the lake and is sure that the T Rex is actually alive. The dinosaurs are to be transported to an island owned by rich expedition leader De Kirk. However as the dinosaur thaws out it is going to cause chaos on the ship, biting people and infecting them with the zombie reptile type virus that has decimated the Russian party.

The next part of the book that I found totally unbelievable. The CIA are monitoring what De Kirk is doing and have placed an agent on his ship, posing as the ship's new doctor. The only problem is, Veronica has no medical training and when faced with the T Rex bites and injuries, she has no clue what to do. She even has to be told by Marcus that she needs to give the victims antibiotics in case of infection. WTF kind of plot is that??? There is no way that the CIA are putting someone without medical training to pose as a doctor! She also isn't very good with a gun as Xander seems able to disarm her at will several times in the book. She is quite pathetic.  Xander, the biological weapon expert brought on board by De Kirk is much more convincing that our heroes Alex and Veronica. He at least seems to be capable. 

The action switches to the private island where things are starting to unravel. The thawed dinosaurs are loose on the island and everyone who is bitten is turning into a zombie. Even the main compound on the island is not a safe place to be, and Xander, Veronica and Alex realise that if they want to escape alive, they are going to have to work together in an uneasy alliance. While this part of the book has more action, everything becomes stupidly easy for our team. The next paragraph contains spoilers.

Spoiler alert! This is how the escape goes. Run to roof where there is a helicopter. Oh no, we've crashed the helo but right near the crash site is a jeep. Oh no the jeep has now run out of gas but there is a secret shelter just ahead hidden inside the nearby volcano. Lets wire it to explode and kill the they are stuck inside after setting the explosives but a handy fork lift truck is right there to force open the back exit along with a nice motorbike to use! *sigh* Every place they get to, there is a nice quick escape option which lets them avoid most of the zombies. Too convenient and not convincing for me.

Safe to look again! I know you have to suspend disbelief to a certain extent when you are reading books about dinosaurs and zombies but there has to be a realism of sorts where you can invest in the story and I did not find it in this book. I found the characters to be unappealing with the cliche rich psycho being like a James Bond villian and the heroes were unconvincing cardboard cut outs. The plot holes were silly, and then it throws in the dumb attraction between Alex and Veronica which as well as being an silly added afterthought, has no chemistry or interest to it at all. It is almost as if the authors though 'darn, we forgot the obligatory romance. Throw it in here!'

Disappointing and I know that Rich Chesler is a much better author than is shown in this book. 
Read January 2017.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png


  1. Too bad it wasn't better. It's an awesome cover AND title!

    1. Yeah I really expected more from this. I've read other Rick Chesler books that are much better.

  2. Darn it. I was hoping this would be good. You know, I look to you for good critter horror. Thanks for the heads up on this one!

    1. There are still some good reviews for critter books to come next month!

  3. Hah love that title. Sorry this was disappointing though, and such a good premise. Course dinos are always good. :)

    1. I guess not every one can be good...But I have a pile of these dinosaurs still to read so hopefully some will be great!