March 9, 2015

Better Run Through the Jungle: a review of Michael McBride's "Burial Ground"

Burial Ground
by Michael McBride
narrated by Gary Tiedemann
running time: 12 hrs. 40 mins.
published in print (2011), in audio (2014)

Available on Amazon.com

What's worse than trudging through a jungle? How 'bout trudging uphill through a jungle? Set in the Peruvian rainforest nestled along the mountains, a dead body is discovered and prompts and expedition to find out who--or what--killed him, and where he found that snazzy gold artifact tucked in his bag.

After a wealthy industrialist learns his galavanting son has died under mysterious circumstances in South America, he leads a recon team of scientists and mercenaries into the jungle for answers, guided by the bush pilot that found his son's corpse and the golden crown in his possession. Suspicion on all sides over who knows how much weighs heavy as they venture into the wild, but their own little quabbles are quickly outweighed as it becomes all too apparent that there is a tribe in the jungle, one that has until now gone undiscovered, and the team finds themselves in a race for answers as well for their lives.

If you like those globe-trotting thrillers and encounters with the unknown, you're likely to really get a kick out of this book. What could just be a paint-by-numbers horror/thriller fare is quite capably handled by McBride, who turns this into something just a little bit more riveting than what you might find late at night on SyFy. The characters are fleshed out much more than the run-of-the-mill stories you might be used to, and while the broad premise of the book doesn't feel all that original, its execution helps it stand out from the pack.

The ending isn't quite so revelatory, but a minor complaint for an audiobook helmed by Gary Tiedemann who does a great job in keeping the tone and pace of the story just right, and the characters engaging the whole way through.

If you're a fan of those Preston/Child novels, I'd wager you would be a fan of this one.

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