Okay, I admit it. When I saw the chance to read a book about not just a) zombies, or b) dinosaurs, but c) zombie dinosaurs, I pretty much giggled with glee. Millions wouldn't go there, but I did. And happily.
Which might go some way toward explaining why I was so disappointed with Jurassic Dead: my expectations were simply too high. Not all the way, mind you. No, to do that, I'd also have to take into account a few other factors that I'll outline below. Before that though, see if you can get your head around this plot.
Son of a very successful palaeontologist joins with his friend in doing the usual things 20-somethings do when they're bored. Namely, plant bombs on a research site in order to protect a pocket of the world that has been sealed away in Antarctica for 150 million years. I'm still not sure how setting off bombs near the micro-organisms was supposed to protect the little blighters, but whatever. Friend is killed by Russians that have weirdly lizard-like movements and dead-like eyes, and the son gets picked up by his pissed off dad who happens to be working with the American research crew in competition against the Russians. Meanwhile, James Bon Villain #1 comes to work for James Bond Villain #2 - who happens to be financing the American research efforts - and is being tracked by beautiful CIA agent with an axe to grind who is posing (poorly) as a doctor. The long extinct dinosaurs in the hidden pocket of the world wake up and start chomping on people. No-one other than Bored to Bombs Son, Palaeontologist Dad, James Bond Villains #1 and #2, and Beautiful Faux Doctor are described in anything more than soon-to-be dead detail, so it's no surprise when all but James Bond Villain #2 are soon running around a nearby island he has set up as his own Secret Base of Doomsday Evil, while trying to avoid zombies of the ex-human and ex-extremely large dinosaur variety...
And there are absolutely zero points for guessing what happens beyond the above. Which is one of the disappointing things I alluded to earlier. There is zero tension in this read, and every plot development (perhaps bar one) is telegraphed several chapters ahead of time. The second disappointing aspect of Jurassic Dead is that it is in no way a horror or even a thriller. This is a flat out adventure read that just happens to have zombies in it. It's big, it's bold, it's silly; but it is most definitely not scary and that loses points in my book.
Sakmyster and Chesler can write an action scene, and I liked their punchy use of short chapters. Also, at 202 pages, Jurassic Dead at least has the good grace to be direct and to the point. But there are are so many times when the characters behave like they're in an animated James Bond spoof, that I couldn't help but roll my eyes and groan - the final significant disappointment to me.
So there you have it. Go in expecting a silly adventure read with some undead things in it and you might enjoy yourself. Expect something remotely horrific or heart-poundingly tense and, well, you probably won't.
2 Crappy Ways to Rebel Against Dad for Jurassic Dead.