cover image Raptor


Paul Zindel / Author Hyperion Books $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7

This latest of Zindel's (Reef of Death) thrill-a-chapter adventure stories serves up mutant dinosaurs as the monsters du jour. The story--centered around a teenage boy's hunt for a baby raptor--is densely seasoned with sequences of giant reptiles snagging and devouring their prey (""Its rancid froth and ooze reeked with the rot of death....""). The cast of stock characters includes Professor Norak, the paleontologist who discovers a dinosaur egg but drops it when he is mauled by the mother raptor; Zack, his son, who retrieves the egg and sees it hatch; Uta, Zack's Native American sidekick; and Dr. Boneid, the evil scientist who doesn't mind destroying the environment in order to capture a dinosaur and win greater fame. When the hatchling is reclaimed by its mother, Zack goes after it, on an impulsive (and ill-planned) journey into a Utah cave (the raptors' den). The caper nearly costs him his life, but some strokes of good fortune and Uta's quick thinking save him in the end. The author's new wave of fans will probably gobble up this novel almost as quickly as the raptors tear into the victims; those more appreciative of Pigman-type fare will heave another sigh of disappointment. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)