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Context Literature / TyrannosaurCanyon

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1[[quoteright:236:]]²[[caption-width-right:236:]]²''Tyrannosaur Canyon'' is a paleontology-based thriller by [[Literature/AgentPendergast Douglas Preston]] first published in 2005.²²Among the canyons of New Mexico, professional fossil hunter Stem Weathers is murdered. With his dying breath he gifts a notebook to a passerby, sending him to Weather's estranged daughter with a message. Frustrated, a shadowy assassin turns his attention to the new bearer of the precious notebook that documents the greatest paleontological find in Earth's history.²²----²!!This novel provides examples of:²²* AnachronismStew: At one point, the titular ''T. rex'' comes across (and devours) a pack of ''Coelophysis'', which already went extinct in the early Jurassic. This is jarring given the text earlier named dinosaurs and other fauna that were appropriate for the time period and region ''T. rex'' lived in (except for ''Deinosuchus'', which died out 5 million years prior).²* ArtisticLicenseMilitary: Part of Jimson Maddox's backstory is that he was a Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Gunnery Sergeant is a ''Marine Corps.'' rank. ²* BigBadEnsemble: [[spoiler: Corvus is murdered by Masago roughly two-thirds of the way into the book, leaving the latter to take over as the BigBad for the rest of the story]].²* ContinuityNod: Two characters are from a previous Preston novel known as ''The Codex''. The events of that novel are vaguely referenced.²* CoolCar: Tom Broadbent's classically restored 1957 Chevy pickup.²* CutLexLuthorACheck: Cited and averted by Maddox. Instead of networking in prison to advance his criminal career, he used his contacts to make a dating site called Hard Time for women seeking convicts. He comments in other places that if he had known how easy it was to make money legitimately, he never would have bothered with crime. It's played straight, however, in that Maddox does highly illegal things, albeit because 1. He's grateful to Dr. Corvus for springing him from prison. And 2. He knows Dr. Corvus can put him back in prison if he screws up on his OneLastJob. ²* DarknessEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:Corvus']] last scene. Played with in that the victim fled into the dark room for safety and potential ambush, not counting on the hunter to be better equipped and experienced in just such a situation.²* DiabolicalMastermind: How Corvus styles himself, but he's a relatively anemic example.²* DumbDinos: Zig-zagged; while the titular ''T. rex'' is highly intelligent, she's also a being of pure instinct - she doesn't remember anything, not even mating rituals or raising her young, and only lived to eat.²* FauxActionGirl: Sally Broadbent. She teaches horsemanship and is supposedly a crack shot; [[GenreBlind she even reassures her husband that she'll be fine if left alone for a weekend.]] Then she's captured without much fuss, bungles an escape attempt, and spends the rest of the story being present while Tom and Ford save the day. ²* FeatheredFiend: The titular ''T. rex'' is portrayed with a downy coat of feathers. [[ShownTheirWork Pretty commendable]], for a work written in 2005.²* HonorBeforeReason: Broadbent promises to fulfill Weathers' LastRequest of delivering Weathers' notebook, even though it's not his responsibility and doing so places his friends and family in danger. He could just hand the notebook over to the police for delivery at any point; worse, in delivering it he's a potential accessory to grand theft since the fossil is on public land.²* IGaveMyWord: See HonorBeforeReason above. ²* ISurrenderSuckers: [[spoiler:Ford]] to Masago.²* LastRequest: Weathers to Broadbent, asking him to deliver the notebook to Weathers' daughter. ²* OneBulletLeft: The weapon Broadbent steals only comes with a single round. [[spoiler:Averted; the shot is downplayed and Broadbent has to menace TheDragon with an empty gun.]]²* OnlyAFleshWound: [[spoiler:Broadbent]] is ''shot in the face'' at point-blank range and is only momentarily unconscious for it, though it's suggested there may be a concussion and bone creasing.²* OutsideContextProblem:²** In a story about an unscrupulous museum curator poaching the claim of a fossil hunter, it's a bit unexpected when a US military black-ops detachment shows up in the fourth act.²** [[spoiler:Even more so, the ''Tyrannosaurus'' was killed not in combat nor in old age, but by extraterrestrial forces.]]²* PhlebotinumKilledTheDinosaurs: [[spoiler:In this case, an alien bacteria that may have been an engineered bioweapon.]]²* PoliceAreUseless: Left and right.²** Detective Lieutenant Willer disbelieves Broadbent's account of Weathers' murder after a cursory search until Broadbent personally uncovers incontrovertible evidence.²** The same police fail to follow up on the investigation quickly, allowing evidence to degrade.²** Willer continues to follow Broadbent as a person of interest and intercepts his vehicle while Broadbent is negotiating for a hostage exchange.²** Finally, Willer is rendered impotent by the appearance of federal forces right before he might have been useful in the desert.²** Broadbent himself seems to believe this when he doesn't contact the police in the wake of Sally's kidnapping.²* RedHerring: Weathers asks Broadbent to deliver his notebook to his daughter Robbie in the first few pages. Broadbent spends the rest of the story chasing the notebook, only delivering it to Robbie in the last few pages once the entire plot is resolved.²* SelfMadeMan: Broadbent's family was wealthy, but he turned his back on the family connections to start his own business as a veterinarian. He's known to be quite wealthy but hasn't touched his inheritance because he wants to make his own money.²* SteelEarDrums: Maddox fires multiple times in the close quarters of the cave sequence with no apparent ill effects. When another character is shot in the face point-blank, the biggest concern is a concussion rather than permanent hearing loss.²* TheDragon: Weed Maddox. Ex-con (thanks to Corvus) with military training, sociopathic tendencies, and tactical ruthlessness. Also he runs a dating website.²* TheLabRat: Melodie Crookshank, who is literally only depicted working in her basement lab on [[BuffySpeak heavy science-y stuff.]]²* ThirstyDesert: The mesas of New Mexico. Thirst becomes a real, immediate concern for several characters through the later parts of the book.²* ViewersAreGeniuses: Almost any scene involving Melodie Crookshank will be heavy on technical terminology and light on explanation. Justified since she's only speaking to herself or other professionals who already understand, but difficult for average readers.²* WeaponForIntimidation: Biler's stolen .22, after the one bullet is fired.²----


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