by Christine Gentry
Category: Fiction / Mystery
330 pages; ISBN: 1590581504
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Poisoned Pen, Apr 2005, $24.95, 330 pp.
The stealing of fossils including dinosaur tracks is a lucrative business so there are as many poachers as paleontologists. Something went wrong for one poacher when an explosion killed him near the Big Toe Museum in Montana. DA panicked curator Dr. Cameron Dieselmore informs paleoartist Ansel Phoenix that her allosaurus replica killed someone as part of the victim resides as a burned husk dangling from the teeth of her model.
Ansel arrives at the crime scene only to find law enforcement arguing jurisdiction between the Big Toe police, LaCrosse County sheriff, the state, the FBI and the Bureau of Land and mines. Not long afterward, FBI Agent Outerbridge asks Ansel for help in capturing poachers who devastated a major find because she being half-Indian might provide access that he cannot achieve. Reluctantly she agrees because she fears the BLM will shut the Big Toe Museum that is on federal land and move the find to a California think tank. Ansel may have reconsidered her acquiescing if she knew that the allosaurus victim was murdered and that Police Chief Flynn has been killed too.
CARNOSAUR CRIMES, the sequel to the pleasant MESOZOIC MURDER, is a fine amateur sleuth tale with plenty of police procedural elements to make for a wonderful investigative tale. The story line hooks the audience from the moment that Dr. Dieselmore calls Ansel and never lets up until the final confrontation. Ansel is a terrific center keeping the plot moving while the deadly dinosaur hunting and the competition between the various law enforcement agencies makes the mystery realistic and much more entertaining.
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