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Sacred Stone

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Sacred Stone by Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo

This is Clive Cussler's second novel in what he calls the Oregon Files, following Golden Buddha which he also co-authored with Craig Dirgo. The hero of this series is not Dirk Pitt, not even Cussler's other underwater hero Kurt Austin. This time the hero is Juan Cabrillo, who I'm sure would be a compelling lead character if Cussler ever let me get to know him.

Here's my problem with Sacred Stone. It starts off running - fine, most adventure novels do - but it runs non-stop for nearly 400 pages. There is no character development, no depth, no richness, no interaction, no pausing. As a reader I cannot appreciate the intensity of very near nuclear disaster being averted at the last second if I haven't had a moment to breathe in between helicopter landings and take-offs.

Devoted Cussler fans will likely read this book no matter what, but I bet they'll be disappointed. It just feels like Cussler is allowing his co-authors to use his name to crank out bestsellers and not adding much of the magic that made his early Dirk Pitt novels so addicting. If you read Dirk Pitt, you loved the guy. He was a man's man who you followed through thick and thin, and there were plenty of both. This newest hero has none of that allure - largely because the authors haven't bothered to even tell me what Juan Cabrillo looks like, let alone who he is.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to restrain myself when the next Clive Cussler comes along. A thumbs down for Cussler's latest bestseller in paperback, Sacred Stone. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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