Mammoth, by Douglas Perry (2016)

Mammoth, by Douglas PerryA summer morning earthquake in a ski resort town in the California mountains rattles residents. It’s California so they are used to it, but when explosions follow, a sense of disaster causes people to flee, creating a traffic jam that just increases the panic. Even the DJ takes off in the middle of his radio show. No one really knows what’s going on, including the reader. Billy Lane and his two cronies take advantage of the mayhem to knock off the small-town bank. No one was supposed to be hurt, but the bank manager is shot and a teller is left unconscious and bleeding. The crooks take off up a mountain road to hide out, where Billy’s daughter is at a running camp. But when Tori returns from her morning run, the camp is deserted. Police chief Kenneth Hicks and his deputy discover the bank robbery and set off after the Johnson brothers, local miscreants they believe to be responsible. There are a lot of people to keep track of in this mystery! Author Perry has developed strong believable characters and a spooky mountain setting in late 1970s California. This is a time of change and fear, of everything from illegal aliens and communists to UFOs and black men. And there are no cellphones. So when power goes out, people really don’t know what’s going on. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these flawed and honestly human characters and what drives their decisions. The cause of the panic isn’t as important as the actions they take. Be prepared for a level of confusion as you work your way through, but that’s part of the enjoyment. An excellent character-driven mystery that would make for a great movie, though I’m pretty sure the surprise ending would be revised. My thanks to Amberjack Publishing for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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