(Credit: Michael McBride)

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this book. For the $0.99 cents the ebook costs you on Amazon, you get a romp in South American rainforest. The plot makes sense and keeps you reading, with enough deaths to make sure your appetite for gore is met. However, don’t expect to be blown away by the setting or the characters. It kind of feels like you’re watching a movie through a layer of gauze. You can tell what’s happening, but there’s no sharp edges and it’s an inferior experience.

In my defence, this was not my book choice. My husband now has a Kindle too, and in the interest of saving money I’m reading the books he buys (except if they’re non fiction). He likes to read thrillers, so when he saw this for $0.99 cents, it wasn’t too hard to press buy. I have a feeling that he probably saw the review which said that Michael Crichton fans would love it. I would dispute that. Yes, Burial Ground has dinosaurs in it, but Jurassic Park it aint. Crichton generally managed to put enough scientific detail in his books that the premise felt entirely plausible and had you wondering if the storylines were actually happening somewhere in a jungle near you. To read McBride’s novel, there’s definitely more suspension of disbelief required.

Then there’s the yeah right factor you get when the characters head off on an expedition where the military team all die while the untrained scientists survive. Yeah, I can see that happening. The love interest wasn’t any better. It seemed to have been thrown in because the author felt that he had to have a romance: I really didn’t understand why the supposed lovebirds were attracted to each other. It was as if they’d put on a blindfold, spun around and then pointed randomly at someone.

But possibly the worst part of this book was the hero. He was taking psychological drugs because of the terrible scenes he’d experienced in the military. That seriously has to scar someone’s personality. Yet, he’s made out to be Mr Sweetness and Light and does extremely selfless things. I couldn’t swallow that. Then in the end, he’s miraculously cured of his psychological ills. This paragraph made me gag:

He turned to face Sam, stared into her stunning blue eyes, and saw both those of the woman he had failed and the one he had saved. In that moment, he laid the ghost of his past to rest and welcomed a future as infinite as the most perfect blue sky.

That was the last paragraph of the whole novel. The hero was suddenly all better now. There was no arduous road to recovery, just the flicking of a light switch. As for “infinite as the most perfect blue sky”, can I vomit now?

I’m going to give this novel a 2/5. The idea and the plot were OK.