Michael Rutger’s THE ANOMALY is an enjoyable survival horror tale that reminded me in a good way of Jeff Long’s classic THE DESCENT. I had a few issues with it, but overall, I liked it.
The novel starts with the crew of a web-based TV show that descends upon a hotel near the Grand Canyon. The show is nominally led by Nolan Moore, who in each episode explores an “anomaly”—a strange artifact or legend suggesting the history we all learned in school isn’t quite right.
He takes his team into the Grand Canyon to find Kincaid’s Cave, which promises evidence of a lost civilization that predates everything. After finding it, the team accidentally activates an ancient machine. Soon, they find themselves fighting for their lives, and the clock is ticking.
This was a fun story. Though it took me a while to warm up to Nolan and his crew, I eventually joined the team and started to root for them, especially when things go south. The cave offers great mysteries with explanations that inspire wonder, and the survival horror element is harrowing.
My only complaints were again it took me a while to warm up to the characters and story, and the survival horror aspect, while strong, went on a bit too long, as Rutger threw everything but the kitchen sink at his heroes every step of the way out of the cave.
Overall, though, it’s a fun ride, and as a sucker for lost civilizations, I totally got sucked into the cave’s mysteries. Recommended reading if you enjoy thrillers with a horror aspect like Preston & Child write. Apparently, the concept is being taken into a series, offering future adventures.