First published back in August of 2018, ‘The Anomaly’ offered up a suspense thriller blockbuster novel by British author Michael Marshall Smith (under the pseudonym of Michael Rutger).

DLS Synopsis:
Nolan Moore had spent a long time researching the show’s next episode.  The ‘Anomaly Files’ was well known for its attempts at uncovering strange artefacts and hidden histories.  The show had been a big hit on YouTube, however taking the leap to cable was a game changer.  Luckily Nolan had just the thing to draw in the inquisitive conspiracy hunting crowds – Kincaid’s Cavern.

The idea that the cave was real, and that it contained the lost history it claimed to, was perfect for The Anomaly Files.  Nolan had spent months researching the story thoroughly and had now come up with a possible location for where the lost cavern might be.  If he and his team managed to successfully locate this legendary cave, Nolan knew it would be the biggest thing to happen to his show.  It would change everything.

The story of the cavern’s existence had more than peeked Nolan’s curiosity for quite some time.  It was said that back in 1909, hunter and explorer G.E. Kincaid had been prospecting for minerals within the Grand Canyon, when he spotted a cave halfway up the sheer walls of the canyon.  Within the passages of the vast cave, him and his team found great wonders that had the potential to change our understanding of mankind’s past.

Kincaid and his team had gone back to civilisation and reported on their incredible find.  One which told of a mindboggling link with a forgotten history.  But without proof, without evidence of such a find, Kincaid’s discovery soon fell into the ambiguous mist of folklore.  No one had been able to locate the cave in over a century since.

Now Nolan and his team planned to find the truth behind Kincaid’s Cavern.  The show’s producer and director – Ken – would be accompanying them on the excursion, along with their assistant producer Molly, their cameraman Pierre, and temporary crew member Feather.  They also had the help of Dylan who would be their guide to surviving the Grand Canyon’s climbs and descents, along with writer Gemma whose job was to document the excursion.

They all knew the exploration they had planned wasn’t going to be easy.  It would involve a great deal of searching and climbing, and potentially dangerous scenarios that could prove fatal.  But if they managed to locate the cavern and the incredible wonders within, then it would undoubtedly be worth the risks.

But what they found buried deep in the dark depths of the Grand Canyon was beyond comprehension.  What they found was something that far exceeded their wildest dreams.  What they found was a nightmare…

DLS Review:
I must confess to having quite a soft spot for Neil Marshall’s film ‘The Descent’ (2005).  I love the claustrophobia of it.  The darkness that swallows the characters up so effortlessly with such a degree of helpless finality.  What we have with Smith’s…I mean Rutger’s…novel is something that plummets the reader into an incredibly similar abyss of claustrophobic cavernous darkness.

The tale reads like a Dan Brown thriller, with a link to a hidden past akin to something Michael Crichton might dream-up, only with an ‘X-Files’ conspiracy-laced tone lurking behind it all.  It’s the sort of plot where a willing suspension of disbelief is absolutely essential.  It’s farfetched and mind-bogglingly outlandish on so many levels, but if you’re happy just to run with it for the sheer enjoyment of being entertained, then you’re in for one hell of a crazyass roller-coaster ride.

Admittedly the tale takes a little while to get going.  Smith spends a good few pages setting the scene, and more importantly, fleshing out the character of Nolan Moore, and to a certain degree, the rest of his crew on the excursion.  I say to a certain degree, because some of the characters with a slightly lessor role to play in the tale, remain more like cardboard cut-outs than flesh and blood people.  In fact, the only characters who really stand out some way in the tale are that of Nolan and his love/hate director Ken.

However once our troop of hapless explorers have (inevitably) located Kincaid’s Cavern, the tale really gets cranking up the gears in terms of thrills and suspense, along with a hefty shovelful of good-old-fashioned horror.

To begin with the direction of the story takes on a somewhat Indiana Jones-like vibe; with bigass boulders chasing down the characters and hidden switches causing all sorts of havoc.  However, it’s not long before the novel seems to take a relatively sizeable shift towards something entirely different.  This is where the Michael Crichton stuff starts infiltrating the plot, and Smith doesn’t hold back with exploring the potential for outlandish rewriting of our history.

We’ve got a complete re-writing of existence that’s brought to the surface with some fucking awesome examples of the beasties we thought were only fictional.  Oh yes, this novel gets down and dirty with some bloody good old school horror.

One thing that Smith knows how to do well is keep a pace going at a full godamn pelt.  It’s that Dan Brown style of writing I alluded to earlier.  Once the mysteries start unravelling and the action gets fully underway, there’s absolutely no stopping this out-of-control minecart through the hellish passageways of Kincaid’s Cavern.

There’s a hell of a lot of horror-loving entertainment awaiting you in these lost caverns.  It’s the sort of tale that capitalises on unravelling mystery after mystery as it continues edging further into the darkness.  And of course there’s enough twists and turns and smirk-inducing double-crossing to keep any good thriller reader on their toes.

Then at the end of it all, as you come tumbling out of the darkness of Kincaid’s Cavern and into the eye-blinding brightness of the world outside, you’ll feel like you’ve personally gone ten rounds with a cave troll and barely survived the experience.

It’s a heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping, roller-coaster of a read, into the deep dark caverns of a terrifying secret history, where beasts and demons are all too real – and they’re after your blood.

The novel runs for a total of 337 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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