The Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones

JonesTheDinosaurFourWhere I Got It: Review Copy

Narrator: Nick Podehl

Publisher: Geoff Jones (2015)

Length: 8 hours 7 minutes

Author’s Page

The Daily Edition Cafe, in Denver near the Cherry Creek, has been Lisa’s dream for some time. She’s proud to have finally opened it and stayed open with regular customers these past few years. However, she never saw this coming! Now she and several others have been transported somehow to an unknown location. Pretty soon, it’s made clear that they are trapped in a land and time that contains dinosaurs!

This was an awesome ride! I really enjoyed this book and gobbled it down in two days. I had to put it away for sleep, though that was a tough decision. There’s a great balance of action and character development. I got to know each character to some extent, even the ones that met their demise. I really liked how each character made snap judgments about the others, just as I was doing as the reader. Later, as they get to know each other, they and I usually had to revise those judgments. Lisa is the owner of the cafe and Beth is her cute barista. She flirts with the customers and was in fact flirting with an older gentleman, Will, who is a UPS delivery man when all this happened. A regular, Al, was in the cafe, hoping to flirt with Lisa, just as he had been hoping to do so for the past 3 years. Callie and her fiance Hank had been out for a run and just stopped in for a pick me up right. And old lady Helen (who came over from Greece decades ago with her now deceased husband) just made it in the door along with a young man named Morgan (who says ‘dude’ a lot) right before the event happened. Patricia, dressed in a business power suit, was waiting to order. Tim, a joiner who works on building wood frames for houses, was waiting to meet his girlfriend Julie at the cafe for their next date.

They all hear this kind of ticking, but don’t know what it is and pay little to no attention to it. It becomes louder right before the event. Then the cafe and part of the floor above it and the sidewalk outside are all transported to what I believe to be the Late Cretaceous. I really liked all the various reactions people had, the theories they came up with, and how they come to realize they are in the land of the dinosaurs. Especially, I enjoyed how they whipped out their cells and took pictures of things, mostly dinos. Very nice touch, so modern!

Right away, they find a severed hand on the sidewalk. They come to the conclusion that they all were within whatever bubble that transported them and that bubble definitely had limits. The first dino they come across is a hadrosaur. Luckily, Will has two tween boys and they went through a dino phase, so he has some idea about some of the dinos. Patricia wants a selfie with the beastie and gets a little two close. Let’s just say the rest of the group learns a really important lesson from this. I had just started to like Patricia and thought she might be the one to take charge and lead the group. Of course, from the title, I had to wonder if only 4 would make it out of the book alive. So I was primed to expect some deaths before even starting the book. Still, I was surprised that Patricia was the first. Perhaps she was never around live stock and lacked that particular brand of common sense.

OK, so obvious the others are rather freaked out and each is having their own personal reaction to things. Helen took a significant scrape to her shin somehow during the event. After all, part of the cafe ceiling is now in the rear of the store and the bathroom. Callie, a red-headed psychiatrist, is the first to show some real initiative by tending to Helen’s leg. Hank, who comes off as a bully but is much more than that, appears to want to take charge, but the others are not so sure of him. He is wearing ridiculous running shorts. So the group sorts out that some will go on a scouting mission and the rest will stay behind in the safety of the cafe where there is at least food and water.

The scouting mission was awesome! We saw more dinos and folks were injured. We lost another member of the party. Yep. The action has started to get really real for our characters. I loved all the dinos and how none of them were portrayed as benevolent pastured cows ready for the milking. By the selection of dinos, I placed them in the Late Cretaceous and I believe the author stayed true to what dinos were around in that time period. I’m no expert, but based on a few web searches, I believe he did a good job at this. For instance, there was sea grass referred to in the book and I know that not all dino periods had flowering plants, but the Late Cretaceous did.

Eventually, the remaining grew discovers what remains of the floor above the cafe and there is a single survivor of the event who explains the why and how this happened. The crew must split up again to go find the gizmo that brought them here and they only have so many hours to retrieve it and return to the cafe before the gizmo automatically sends whatever is nearby back to downtown Denver. Oh, and there is this fail safe that might allow the crew to stop this hot mess from ever happening.

Now we have time travel conundrums and dinos! Awesome! More adventures ensue and the remaining crew show more spunk as they plot and plan their way out of this mess. The women are not just window dressing in this story (hooray!) and they definitely come up with some of the answers to immediate problems. Only Helen has certain physical limitations and can’t join in the more athletic endeavors, though she does show another member how to fish. Another member of the group starts thinking that life in the land the dinos might just be what they want and maybe they shouldn’t return. This becomes something of an obsession and then an actual plan. It’s a great mix of action and characters showing what they are truly made of.

Over all, this was an awesome book. I really enjoyed that the author stayed true to his chosen dino time period and also the possible conundrums thrown in by time travel. I became attached to many of the characters and was a little saddened when some of them met their demise. While I didn’t like all the characters (and I don’t think I was meant to), I definitely enjoyed getting inside their heads and seeing what made them tick. If you are into dinosaur adventure tales, then this is a great book to pick up.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author (via the GoodReads Audiobooks group) in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: Nick Podehl was an awesome narrator. He had distinct voices for all the characters and believable female voices that didn’t sound all the same. He made these incredibly cool dino noises from time to time that were both amusing and a little scary. 

What I Liked: Dinos! Time travel!; the author picked a dino time period and stayed true to it; the characters all got some to a lot of character growth throughout the story; the ladies are not just window dressing but each contributes to the tale; some nice surprises; time travel conundrums; the ending was full of action and very satisfying.

What I Disliked: Nothing! This was an excellent read.

What Others Think:

Everything Dinosaur

Klinsman Hinjaya’s Blog

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