Agent Jack McConnell, from the United Nations Dinosaur Investigation Team (UNDIT), heads to Dinosaur Isle to investigate dinosaurs appearing in nearby Guam. Soon after Jack meets up with the small team of paleontologists on D13 one of three islands that encompass the isle, strange things begin to occur, such as Triceratops offspring and three dead Nanotyrannus. One of the team recognizes different characteristics on the dromaeosaurids, which is a sign that their DNA has been manipulated. Yet, when Jack investigates these “raptors,” as well as researches on one of Dinosaur Isle’s deceased scientists, things turn deadly rather quickly.
Tracy Lee Ford pens a story that makes Jurassic Park look like kid literature in his debut novel. Opening with an illegal dinosaur-fighting scene, Ford introduces his main character, Jack McConnell. An awkward and quasi-bumbling agent with a distinctive air of sophistication—reminiscent of the inimitable Maxwell Smart from the T.V. program Get Smart, Jack shows up on Dinosaur Isle dressed in nothing less than…a suit. From the get-go, Ford uses Jack as comic relief amid a plot replete with sinister underpinnings. To complement his humorous scenes, Ford includes engaging dialogue filled with light bantering.
Ford employs a number of literary elements to keep his third-person narrative flowing. Aside of comedy, Ford consistently alternates action-packed character scenes that can be easily categorized into Jack’s journey into this strange world of dinosaurs and the cryptic dealings of an unidentifiable madman—a definite good vs. evil theme. The most outstanding feature of Ford’s plot is the incredible amount of paleontological information that serves a dual purpose. While there is no doubt that Jack has his hands full trying to build up his understanding of the dinosaur realm and DNA, if he’s going to get anywhere with his investigation, Ford hopes that his audience will “learn a thing or two” about these interesting species in the process. Ford, who is a respected, self-taught paleontologist himself, touches upon so many areas of paleontology, such a bone and muscle structure, habitats, and behaviors, to name a brief list. Topping it off, Ford includes a pretty full glossary at the back of the book.
If this isn’t enough for dinosaur aficionados, there’s certain to be plenty more in store in Ford’s upcoming sequel.
Tracy Lee Ford