Cryptozoology is the study of animals that are believed to have existed but have not been seen in any recordable manner. But what if these animals do exist? What would it take to find them, to catch them? What kind of a man would one have to be in order to devote his life to such an unusual and dangerous pursuit?
In the novel The Cage by Jason Brannon we are introduced to such an individual. Captain Jack Omaha is the guiding blight behind a traveling freak show made up of all sorts of animals that are not supposed to exist. He’s a modern day Indiana Jones but with a wicked smile and a fumbling lack of ethics. Unlike the typical carnival act, in Captain Jack’s show the creatures are very real and very deadly. Omaha should know. He risked life and limb to catch them all with his own two hands and often at great personal loss.
While trying to strike a deal with an established zoo in the town of Crowley’s Point a huge lighting storm crashes the meeting. Thunderous waves of rain and wind break open the freak show caravan allowing all of Omaha’s worst cryptids to escape. Within minutes the crowded public zoo is lurking with new inhabitants capable of feasting on or freeing their trapped animal brethren. A bloodbath of chaos ensues as Omaha and the park’s manager Kinston Owens try desperately to restore order. Unfortunately for them all some of these unstudied beasts are much smarter than anything any hunter has ever seen.
Right from the moment the first creature is described it’s almost impossible to not want to find out what happens next. Characters like Captain Omaha and Kingston Owens put you in the position of sometimes rooting for the men and sometimes hoping the creatures will eat them. The story is simple and easy to follow with the slightest twists existing within tactical positions that allow the action to continue unabated.
Some books are just plain fun to read. The Cage is equipped with its own unique brand of carnage. Should Jason Brannon come out with another thriller I will be one of the first in line with a ticket in hand eagerly waiting to see the show.
The Cage. Author: Jason Brannon, Publisher: Black Death Books (2007), ISBN-10: 0976791498, 236pgs, $14.99