Extinction Peak by Lucas Mangum

Lucas Mangum’s Extinction Peak borrows heavily from themes familiar to fans of Jurassic Park/World franchise, Dino Crisis, and Land Of The Lost while painting a dizzying portrait of an apocalypse no one could have seen coming (except for those who made it happen, but that’s a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll leave it at that).
We’re first introduced to Deandra and her brother, Johnny, as they plan to leave the basement they’ve been sheltering in as the world outside descends into a carnage-filled nightmare Michael Crichton wouldn’t have dared explore, even in writing. Children of a deceased drug lord, neither Deandra nor Johnny are well adjusted or particularly sympathetic characters, particularly Johnny. I found myself wanting both of them to be devoured by dinosaurs almost immediately but knowing there wouldn’t be much of a story to tell if that were how it played out.
As we follow those two (and other characters we encounter along the way, many of them equally flawed and broken), we see far more detail of just how terrible and dangerous the world has become as these beasts emerged, seemingly from Hell, through the sinkholes around the world. As with most monster-themed horror, we soon find that the worst monsters aren’t the obvious ones, that it’s other people we really need to worry about. Fueled by greed, contempt derived from old world biases, and sadistic impulses that shouldn’t surprise any of us (but somehow always do), the story continues its fast-paced and character-driven journey through an increasingly unreal end to the world as we know it.
In all honesty, I would love to see Mangum explore this particular apocalypse in greater depth and detail, through the struggles of other people in other places, but this book is so detailed as to make it simple to close our eyes and imagine precisely what it might be like for others, even ourselves when the holes in the Earth begin opening up.
This book is filled with graphic violence, gruesome deaths, and subject matter that absolutely nudges it into splatterpunk territory…be warned that this is not a book for your dinosaur-loving children…unless you parent the way I would…and did.

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