The Anomaly written by Michael Rutger. 338 pages in length–Acknowledgments and About the Author following the ending. Fiction-Thriller/Mystery/Action.
*Disclaimer: Age advisory, material may not be suitable for all audiences. Adult language and adult material referenced throughout story line. Age 17 and up recommendation.*
“Not all secrets are meant to be found.
If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore–a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the “real” experts but beloved of conspiracy theorists.
Nolan sets out to retrace the steps of an explorer from 1909 who claimed to have discovered a mysterious cavern high up in the ancient rock of the Grand Canyon. And, for once, he may have actually found what he seeks. Then the trip takes a nasty turn, and the cave begins turning against his expedition in mysterious ways. Nolan’s story becomes one of survival against seemingly impossible odds. The only way out is to answer a series of intriguing questions: What is this strange cave? How has it remained hidden for so long? And what secret does it conceal that made its last visitors attempt to seal it forever? “
This isn’t the normal style of stories that I read but I promise you, it was worth it. At first, it was hard for me to get into the story line. I was so excited to read this action packed story that I was unwilling to actually pay attention during the beginning where the characters were introduced and the backstory was established. I almost gave up a time or two because I was afraid I was wasting my time on a book that didn’t pan out. Then I reminded myself that I need to give every book the chance to be amazing. There have been too many books in my life that I put down and didn’t realize until later how amazing they were. So I pushed on and remained hopeful.
Man, am I glad I kept reading through the beginning. The beginning wasn’t bad to be fair, it was just me being impatient and excited to jump into the action. Every story needs to explain who the characters are and where they come from. Michael did a wonderful job building the characters and building their backstories. If you’re patient, unlike me, then you may very well love the beginning.
Please feel free to let me know if you thought differently or similarly with the beginning, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
“The Anomaly Files is not a spiritual enterprise, Ken.”
“Isn’t it? You say one thing in each episode that makes someone see the universe as a bit less tedious, or makes them ask questions about the world, it’s job done, mate. Whether it’s ‘true’ or not, or what that snide Millennial bitch Gemma thinks…who cares? The truth is for teenagers and hippies. We’re too old and ugly for that crap. Wake me up, make me think, or buy me a drink. Otherwise, fuck off.” (Page 40.)
I believe it was around page 90 or chapter 15 that I got sucked in and trapped. I needed to find answers and I needed them FAST! At page 90 I still had so much left to read to find all the answers that I needed. At that point, I finished the book so fast that I was sad as soon as I finished it. I should have paced myself better and truly enjoyed each word in those final chapters. They were very well written.
Let’s talk about those plot twists. In the description it talks about a moment when the trip takes a turn for the worse and the expedition becomes about survival and not discovery. However, any true adventurer will tell you, you can still discover and uncover secrets while fighting for survival. Sometimes the most meaningful discoveries are made when our life is truly on the line.
The first plot twist was where I believed the story truly started, the action and excitement at least. Something happens, essentially trapping a majority of the expedition inside a cave inside the Grand Canyon. The group is now faced with what to do next. One member of the group, however, managed to not get stuck inside of the cave. That member was left to seek help while the rest of the group sought out another way in/out.
“The grinding noise was not loud.
It came from under the floor, but was such a deep tone that it was hard to tell from which direction. It was a gentle sound, and wouldn’t have been at all unnerving except for the fact that the room was so quiet.
Then, suddenly, the cube disappeared, dropping through a neat square hole that had appeared beneath it. It didn’t plummet but descended at a measured rate, until the top was flush with the floor.
This was so very surprising that there was a one-second delay before I processed the inevitable consequence.” (Page 119.)
For the next few chapters they explain what is happening and discovering the cave along the way. A phrase that is used often in the next few chapters, as to be expected: “You might want to come see this.” Or even, “You need to check this out.” From drawings and etches on the walls of the cave to mysterious bodies of water or water like substance inside the cave. Documenting how the body of water changed throughout the story and what they believed was causing it to change. Finding the round balls in multiple areas and even mentioning small pyramids throughout multiple cave rooms.
In great detail this cave is drawn out for us through each chapter. A new hallway full of rooms was discovered. Mentioning that most of the rooms, halls, and walkways were made by “someone.” But who? Where they human? Where they ancient cavemen or before them even?
“Molly redirected the light. There was discoloration there, too, but a different kind. More like smoke damage, deeply ingrained soot from an intense flame. It was also on the ceiling.” (Page 168.)
“I hurriedly pulled her onto her side, into the crash position. I stuck my fingers in her mouth to try to clear the backlog, but it kept coming. It just kept coming.” (Page 226.)
There were a few chapters there where I did not breathe. I was anxiously waiting for what was coming next. I was hooked and needed to find out what happened! I may have lost a night of sleep just trying to finish the book because I did not want to stop reading at all. I would recommend this story to everyone. (Well, within reason due to vulgar language and adult content.)
That first plot I told you about? Yeah, that wasn’t as much of a plot twist compared to the real plot twist. You do not see it coming at all. The author starts to build it up for you but in a sneaky way that you’re just discovering new secrets you didn’t know before…until the truth comes out. Or so you think. You don’t find out later that even part of the truth was a lie for another plot twist later on. These obstacles could be, would be, and should be where the story ends in tragedy. Overcoming the odds seems impossible, you hope so hard that the obstacles are tackled but you start to fear that they are almost too impossible to overcome.
Then, then there is that ending though. Whoa. I did not see that coming whatsoever. Not even a bit, not a clue, not a hint. I mean, sure, there might have been a slight hint earlier in the story and one might be able to argue that the sign for it was there all along. One of those clues where the reader starts to question why this situation keeps being brought up throughout the story. However, someone like me assumes it is part of the backstory and how two of the characters know each other before this story begins. I may or may not be mistaken about that detail but it comes full circle in the end and you are left with this jaw-dropped expression of wonder, amazement, and you can finally breathe again.
Man, this story really caught me off guard. I absolutely loved it and I’m very happy I kept reading through all the beginning details. I understand building characters and backstories are important. Please let me know what your thoughts are! I’d love to hear if you have read this amazing book and what your thoughts are! Simply, AMAZING!