by Roland Smith
By the beginning of this sequel to Cryptid Hunters, ex-twins Marty and Grace have found out that they're not even siblings. In fact, they are cousins—Marty the son of an adventure-journalist couple still missing after a plane crash in the Amazon jungle, Grace the daughter of cryptid hunter Travis Wolfe, who is now their guardian. Grace's father is the brother of Marty's mother; her mother, meanwhile, was the daughter of celebrity philanthropist and private monster Noah Blackwood, whose worldwide chain of wildlife parks and highly publicized voyages of discovery are only a front for a fiendish compulsion to capture, kill, and gloat over the trophies of the same cryptids Travis seeks to discover and protect.
What are cryptids? Well, if you had done your homework and read Cryptid Hunters, you would know that they are rare creatures unknown to science, often recognized only as tribal myths and quaint legends. Creatures such as the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness monster, and the Kraken. Currently Wolfe and Blackwood are in a race to capture the first live specimen of a giant squid from the deepest, darkest trenches of the Pacific Ocean. But even higher on the agenda is for Wolfe to protect, and for Blackwood to capture, the baby dinosaurs whose eggs Wolfe found in the Congolese jungle in the previous adventure. Hatched aboard the good ship Coelacanth, the last two offspring of the Mokèlé-mbèmbé (a.k.a. Tyrannosaurus rex) don't do much except eat, poop, and blow the minds of the few people who know they exist. Still, Blackwood and his henchman Butch McCall are ready to kill any number of people, including children, to get them.
Blackwood also intends to "liberate" his granddaughter Grace from Wolfe's protection. And in that pursuit he has one extra advantage: the fact that Grace is so confused about who she really is. But the Blackwood-McCall conspiracy has to go up against the high-tech resourcefulness of Wolfe's partner Ted Bronson, the no-nonsense defense skills of their security chief, and the ever-unpredictable wild card of Marty, who has a knack for making quick decisions that are equally likely to get him into as out of trouble. But then there are surprises on both sides: a traitor within the trusted inner circle... a too-smart chimp on a drug-induced rampage... a boatload of pirates who are as clueless about their true role as the people they are about to attack... an experimental vessel that brings reinforcements from where it is least expected—from below...
There will have to be a sequel to this book, but I don't know what or when. On the other hand, I hear tell that a character who briefly pass through this story is the star of another series of books by Roland Smith. For more on the Lansa father-son safari team, look for Jaguar and The Last Lobo. Other titles by this author include The Captain's Dog, Elephant Run, Jack's Run, Peak, Sasquatch, and Zach's Lie, plus mostly outdoors-themed non-fiction books and an upcoming installment in the 39 Clues series.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 12+
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