Friday, June 29, 2007

Two Tiny Claws by Brett Davis (1999)

Note: This is a sequel to Bone Wars, reviewed below.

Paperback cover blurb


Hell Creek Formation, Montana, 1907. Barnum Brown, the star paleontologist of the American Museum of Natural History, aims to dig up more examples of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the most fearsome predator to walk the Earth, which he discovered just a few years before.

He's heard some colorful stories about what goes on in this country – according to an article in the Wild West Weekly, earlier paleontologists in Montana encountered both dinosaurs and creatures from outer space. Brown has been here before, doesn't believe any of it, and looks forward to a productive summer digging up fossils.

But the old west dies hard, and there’s trouble in the area from a more earthly source. A bank robber, the notorious sharp-shooter Luther Gumpson, is on the loose, and there are a lot of men who are willing to try to kill him so they can get the reward.

Then Brown learns Gumpson may be the least of his troubles. Strange things start to happen, and he finds out that those colorful stories are true. The creatures from outer space are not only real, but they're back, and they're mad. He also discovers that he won't just be digging up the bones of Tyrannosaurs. He will get the chance to see the awesome ground-pounding meat-eaters in the flesh...

My thoughts

Two Tiny Claws is an improvement over its predecessor. The characters are better realized, if still a little on the bland side. And this time the plot moves ahead at a brisker pace.

Barnum Brown really isn’t much of a player in the novel. Most of the action centers on Luther Gumpson, the last of the Old West gunslingers, and S.L. Burgess, the son of the female protagonist of the first book. It’s a shame because Barnum was an eccentric figure known to walk around dusty dig sites in expensive fur coats. (What do you expect from a guy who was named after P.T. Barnum?) Davis only hints at this weirdness in Two Tiny Claws.

Again, anyone looking for living, breathing dinosaurs will be disappointed, especially after seeing the cool cover art. But at least this time there's a story to care about.

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