John Stick, zoo keeper and giant, just wants to sit alone in a dark room with his pet tarantula. However, when ten thousand birds fall dead from the New Mexican sky, the woman he loves, an ornithologist with severe facial deformity, begs him to decipher the cause. He grudgingly agrees, a decision that plunges him into a tangle of weirdness as old as the American Southwest.
Stick’s investigation reveals that the birds’ mass death is an offshoot of a much larger conflict. On one side, the Good Friends, an underground railroad for undocumented immigrants, wants Stick to oust the man they believe responsible for killing the birds and persecuting immigrants. This same man leads The Minutemen Militia, which covets Stick’s expertise in handling their genetically mutated immigrant-tracking monsters. Meanwhile, a beautiful animal theologian tries to seduce Stick into believing his existence is key to balancing an off-kilter universe. Shady characters whisper of chupacabras loose in the desert. The exsanguinated corpses of strange beasts begin to turn up, some of them Stick’s close pals. At the center of it all lurks an enigmatic antagonist who, so they say, has harnessed the power of God in an ancient hot springs and is using it to herald doomsday.
Stick’s journey upends his stable life, shakes apart his fragile relationships, and sets him on a collision course with his family’s secret ancestry. Ultimately, as chupacabra-like monsters, Minutemen, and Good Friends head toward a final showdown, Stick must make a hard choice about his own identity and values.
Reviews for Archaeopteryx
I absolutely loved this story. John Stick has been on the outside of "normal" all of his life. It's only natural that he would gravitate toward animals, lovely non-judgmental animals, and particularly those who are often judged themselves as being "creepy". But when the animals John (please call him Stick) start dying mysteriously, John must help his biologist friend Melodia (another on the fringes) find out why, thus ensnaring him in a web of intrigue and tragedy. For a guy with a pet bird catcher tarantula, webs might sound great, but the reasons behind the mysterious animal deaths are nothing [...]
Archaeopteryx (The Albuquerque Trilogy Book 1) by Dan Darling is one of the top five books I have read this year! It is everything I love in one book! Science, fantasy, adventure, suspense, government or big business cover-up, danger, creatures, odd but likable characters, and Wow factors. This has all of it ten times over! John Stick, giant of a man helps a gal he likes that is beautiful on one side of her face and has tumors on the other. He collects samples from a strange occurrence that caused birds to drop out the sky and die. From that [...]