Length: 67,000 words
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.
But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.
Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.
With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.
Logan takes his job of head ranger very seriously particularly since it entails watching after the last living dinosaurs on earth. Keeping them safe, unexploited and their habitat unaffected by the encroaching world seems like something simple given they are contained on a fairly isolated archipelago but nothing could be farther from the truth. Supposedly dinosaur leather has hit the black market for sale and getting his hands on a piece of it for his colleague Kit Sterling to test has been less than successful. But what if someone is poaching the dinosaurs for their skin? How can Logan and his understaffed group of rangers ever manage to catch them in action and prove to his corporate minded supervisor that the threat to the dino population is very real?
Kit Sterling may often not agree with everything Logan Beck says but one thing they agree on completely is safeguarding the rare and beautiful animals they have been given to study. Kit is a lab rat and very good at what he does. He never goes into the field unlike Logan and that is where most of their arguments stem from—the lack of understanding that Logan’s job is just as important as Kit’s research. When Logan brings back an injured baby dinosaur and enlists Kit’s help in raising it, the two become closer than either ever expected and constant bickering morphs into mutual attraction. But something isn’t quite right and Kit is determined to help Logan save the dinosaurs before it’s too late.
Anna Martin has released an interesting mystery/romance novel called Something Wild which features new and unusual breeds of living dinosaurs. While many have their hereditary roots in the dinos you and I grew up reading about, the author has given them a whole new look and behaviors which produced some really sweet creatures—the best being the dissimosaur. In all honesty it’s little Dizzy, the rescued infant dinosaur that Logan brings home to rehabilitate, that steals this novel. Once you are able to suspend your disbelief that these creatures could still roam the earth the story becomes very interesting. Reading about how Logan interacts with them, the danger some represent and the idea that poachers could be killing them certainly captured my interest.
Unfortunately that interest didn’t extend to all aspects of the novel. Whether it was due to only hearing about how much Kit and Logan argued or the lack of relationship building in the novel itself, I had a difficult time feeling any connection between Kit and Logan. One moment Logan is asking Kit if he ever wants to have kids and admitting he doesn’t give the reality of the idea much thought to the two professing their love for each other. And there is the real crux of the main problem in this story. It often felt incredibly disjointed—as if pieces of the story were either in the wrong place in the timeline or just thrown in for the sake of building conflict or drama. In particular the last third of this novel seemed to exist just to finally move the plot on to focus on the mystery element that was broadly hinted at but never really addressed in the first two thirds of the story.
Something Wild had all the pieces in place to be an entertaining mystery with a side dish of romance thrown in. But instead I felt I got a tepid attraction between the two main characters and a rather oversimplified resolution to the larger issue that threatened the dinosaurs. Mostly though my real problem with this story was the idea that major plot pieces were often “told” to us rather than shown. This meant that many opportunities to flesh out characters and/or the storyline itself never happened leaving me with a feeling that I had missed something along the way. Please know I love this author and have enjoyed many really great books by her but this one fell short of her usual superior storytelling abilities.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.
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