Game Warden John Marlin has more than his share of Jurassic Park moments without ever leaving Blanco County, Texas.
A sauropod’s skull could go for as much as a million dollars, according to Dr. Underwood, a paleontologist who adds that its value is considerably enhanced because dinosaur fossils have never before been found in Central Texas. That’s precisely the information he’d made available to Hollis Farley on the day the now defunct backhoe operator appeared in his office requesting expertise. Is the skull for real? asks Marlin. Certainly, replies Dr. Underwood, a position he takes firmly enough, though he’s been shown only photos. Could that be why person or persons unknown treated young fossil finder Farley so shabbily? Did he interrupt a fossil heist? A search of the Farley premises has turned up no sign of the aged skull. Has it been stolen? As his investigation deepens, Marlin begins to wonder if the Farley homicide might have other explanations. Granted, Pastor Pete, the well-known televangelist (as per his DVD “Breaking Bread with Jesus”), does seem an unlikely suspect. Still, there are provocative links to the pastor’s sexy wife. Although the game warden’s own nuptials are only days away, problems are already developing, unbeknownst to him, that have catastrophic potential.
Too many subplots rob an eminently likable protagonist (Gun Shy, 2007, etc.) of valuable playing time.