Review: The Anomaly by Michael Rutger


Not all secrets are meant to be found. 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 them 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?

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger.  Book # 1 in the Anomaly series.  Narrated by Brandon Williams.  Published by Hachette Audio, June 2018.  9 hours and 42 mins.  Audio came with a PDF of a set of images.

Before I get to the review,  I want to talk about something that ties into the book.  I am a very curious person.  I love to learn new things or figure out how something works.  I have always enjoyed unexplained mysteries.  I love conspiracy theories.  Something else I love is something labeled pseudo-history.   “Pseudo-history frequently presents a big lie or sensational claims about historical facts which require the revision (re-writing) of the historical record. ”  That is the official definition of Pseudo-history.   It’s basically alternative history theories or explanations, that reinterpret theories or facts already known, and that sometimes are pretty out there.  Examples range from ancient aliens visiting ancient humans to Ancient Egyptians sailing to North America.  Almost all of these theories have been said to be involved in a cover up by mainstream archeologist or the Smithsonian, or governments, or some other high up authority.  I LOVE pseudo-history stuff.  My friends and family are always like “Ugh, do you actually believe in that crap?”  I always have the same answer.  It’s not about if I believe or don’t believe, that’s not what I like about it…  Someone is being creative – right or wrong.  Someone is thinking outside the box.  Outside of the ridged definitions of what things are supposed to be.  Someone came up with a new idea to at least try.  They don’t restrict their thinking to what can’t be.  They are very open to new theories, new ideas, even if they are strange or out there or whatever.  They dare to say something different.  That’s what I like.

One such story is the Kincaid Cave in the Grand Canyon.  Somewhere.  Nobody really knows.  Long story short, this guy back in 1909 said that while he was exploring the Grand Canyon, he found this cave high up and hidden.  When he climbed up there to check it out,  he found ancient Egyptian treasures and writing.  The story goes that someone from the Smithsonian came to check it out, but then hide the story and disappeared.  The Smithsonian has said numerous times that they have never sent someone to check out a lost cave in the Grand Canyon back in 1909 and that there is no proof of there ever being a person under the name of G. E. Kincaid and that the whole story is made up yet keeps being repeated after all this time.  Then people say that the Smithsonian is lying and hiding the truth. This is where The Anomaly starts.

The main character, Nolan, is looking in to the story of Kincaid’s Cave.  Nolan is the lead in a youtube show about unsolved mysteries and conspiracy theories.  He has a camera man named Pierre, a producer named Ken, and the production assistant, Molly.  The core group of characters are really fun.  They have great chemistry with each other and each one brings something unique to the team.  There is also a lot of witty banter between them, especially from Ken, and it brings a humorous element to a pretty creepy tale.  When The Anomaly was over, I was saddened to say goodbye to these characters. I thought it was a stand alone book.  I literally did a happy dance when I found out that this was actually going to be the start of a new series. 😀

I loved the setting of Kincaid’s Cave.  What Mr. Rutger comes up with for the explanation of the cave is unsettling and creative.  I loved that he took a story like that and put this really unique spin on it.  I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really enjoyed how the author set up everything and the universe he is creating.  Very interesting and entertaining story.  I’m really looking forward to what other kinds of things Nolan and his crew will run in to now.

Very well written.  Everything flowed really well as the tension slowly begins to creep up around you.   With the way things were described, you really felt the desperation of the characters as things began to go sideways.  The author did a great job of setting up a horrific, tension filled atmosphere.  Again, no spoilers… but, there were a few times where I was just like “WTF?! 😮 ”

The narrator is Brandon Williams. The Anomaly is told from the perspective of Nolan, who is pretty laid back and borderline apathetic.  Mr. Williams nailed it.  He did such a perfect job of being Nolan’s voice.  I can’t imagine anyone else doing it now and I really hope he reads the next book in the series.  He also did well with the other characters.  Everyone had their own unique sound.  It did feel like sometimes Ken’s voice lost a little bit of his British accent, but it was very slight and not that noticeable.  I was pretty happy with Brandon’s over all performance.

The Anomaly comes with a few photos.  During the course of the book, Nolan mentions a few times about how he keeps all his notes on his phone document app.  He shows a few of the documents he has to some of the other characters.  The photos we get in the book are the documents he has on his phone in relation to Kincaid’s Cave and the surrounding location of the Grand Canyon.  I bought the audio on Audible and they provided me with a PDF of all the photos from the book.  I am not sure if that is available from other places to buy the audiobook or not, though.  You don’t necessarily have to have the photos in order to enjoy the book, but it is a cool little bonus to get to see what Nolan was talking about when he pulled out his phone and showed his friends these documents.

The Anomaly was a very entertaining story and I had a total blast listening to the audiobook!  The story was unique and creative with a lot of tense atmosphere.  The dynamics between the main cast of characters made this book even better.  The narrator did a pretty top notch job with very little to complain about.  I enjoyed the added bonus of photos from Nolan’s files.  I am really looking forward to the next book in this new series.



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