Sunday, October 08, 2017

31 Days of Halloween - Day 8

The Flock by James Robert Smith

Five Star. 2006

In a vast savannah habitat in central Florida, that is part of a now closed military base, three groups compete for ownership of this untouched, remote land; a Walt Disney-esque media company looking to expand their idealistic suburban community named Salutations (much like Celebration), a retired Marines colonel who wants to use it to train right-wing militia groups in preparation to step in and overthrow a left leaning government, and a billionaire ecologist/cryptozoologist who wants to keep it as is.

When dogs go missing from the outskirts of Salutations, Ron Riggs, a Fish and Wildlife officer, is brought in to investigate.  What he finds is romance, intrigue, red herrings, murder, betrayal and 10 foot tall prehistoric birds with strength, speed, razor sharp beaks and some other surprises.

This is an adventure novel which isn't so much of a throwback to nature's revenge novels popular in the 1970s, though it is patterned on them. The characters come in familiar clothes; the scheming, selfish corporate leader, the crazed ex-military man, the environmentalist, the heroic everyman, the tough girl, the meddling reporter, etc. As the book progresses and the characters you think are definite bird fodder, turn out to be other than, and the climax appears and ways other than what you expected, you realize that there are other red herrings than the ones being served to the characters in the book.

This was a fun, fast paced read, and Smith pulls off the unenviable task of having to convey to the reader the inner workings of an alien species. A sequel is in the works, and I'm looking forward to reading that one, too.

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