Review: The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger
Grand Central Publishing (June 2018)
352 pages; $17.38 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Every once in a while, a book comes along to remind you how much fun reading can be. Thrillers usually fill that void pretty well. Add in some darkness, and opening the covers can feel like a rollercoaster ride designed by Rod Serling when arguing with Clive Barker.

Read through to the end of this review for a shocker…please.

The Anomaly is that book that takes the reader by surprise. Publishers’ descriptions rarely hit the nail on the head; in this case, it did. A combination of The X-Files with Indiana Jones fits nicely. Except for the protagonist.

Nolan Moore isn’t quite an archaeologist. He’s definitely not a doctor. Yet he loves his history and conspiracies. He and his boss promote a YouTube show that examines the mysterious unexplained legends of the world.

Nolan takes his team of misfits into the Grand Cavern to search for something that may have been discovered in 1909. The team does indeed find something — something much more real and interesting than ever touched upon in his shows. People begin to show who they really are, and no one is a throwaway character until the true plan is revealed — and appears to doom Nolan to become a permanent addition to the canyon. What they find is as advertised. Mulder and Indiana would have a field day here, as would Stephen King.

The trick to this book is the storytelling. It’s solid — much more solid than with typical first-time novelists. The prose is lean and the lines move in waves that keep the reader hypnotized. The twists truly are maze-like in their construction.

And then…the reveal. Michael Rutger is not who he claimed to be.

He’s Michael Marshall Smith, the master behind Spares, The Straw Men, Intruders, and so much more.

This was going to be recommended as one of the best books of the year in any genre before the author revealed himself. After that, it was confirmed.

The Anomaly is that good. A true ride that won’t take long to finish. Another secret? Rutger/Smith will be back for more.

Leave a Reply