Cover Image: The Paleontologist

The Paleontologist

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Member Reviews

I have never been more excited for the idea of a book--DINOSAUR GHOSTS?? Almost broke a nail getting to the request button. A paleontologist returns to the museum where his sister disappeared as a child, only to discover a dark, supernatural secret? The plot of this book has absolutely everything I could want. A cold case, a nerdy scientist MC, literal DINOSAUR GHOSTS.

But then.

It meanders. It spends way too long on Covid protocols. No one seems as concerned as they should be about the MURDEROUS dinosaur ghosts. There aere a lot of ways this book could have gone wrong, but it is absolutely unforgivable to me that it was somehow mind-numbingly BORING.

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This book was really fun and unique! I absolutely loved the setting and I don't think I've ever read a book set in a museum before, of any genre. This is one I will absolutely be purchasing for my husband, as I think he will enjoy it even more than I did.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I first saw this book I gasped at the cover. A dinosaur skull? I was in. And this was actually a very intriguing read for me. It's a little bit out of my comfort zone, but Dumas was an expert at crafting a story and keeping my attention. I can't say too much without giving too much away, but I highly recommend picking this one up. If you get the chance, make sure to take it with you on a field trip to the museum. Better yet, take it with you if you can sleep in a museum and let me know if you're able to get a wink of sleep.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️

𝘼 𝙝𝙖𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙥𝙖𝙡𝙚𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙡𝙤𝙜𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙪𝙢 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙗𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙨 𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙖𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙢𝙪𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙞𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙣𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙡.

This is my second book by this author, both have gotten three stars. I think I enjoyed this one just a tiny bit more than his previous book.

I was so excited to read this book as the concept sounded like something I would absolutely enjoy - it was also unique.

This story started off on a good note, I was enjoying it at first. However, it’s so slow and it made the story drag so much. There are also a lot of ridiculous moments.

I loved the mystery behind the missing sister and these ghost dinosaur elements, but the book tried to do too much. There were so many extra layers added that just took from my enjoyment.

The story basically follows a paleontologist who returns to the museum his sister was abducted years ago. The haunted atmosphere was incredible, but there’s only so much you can do, and this story felt too long.

Overall, this horror story had an eerie atmosphere and I loved the concept of Dino ghosts, however, the story just felt mediocre. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but I had such high hopes and was let down a bit.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Atria Books for the review copy in exchange for my honest review!

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The Paleontologist was about a 3.5/5 for me. It has very well crafted characters and wonderfully written. I think my only problem was I was expecting something similar to Jurrasic Park but it wasn't. It was a little slow in the beginning but I would say the last 60% flew and was more what I was,looking for. I would definitely read the next title from Luke Dumas..reading this made me purchase A History of Fear which I have good things as well. 🦕

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The Paleontologist follows Dr. Simon Nealy as he accepts a new job at the Hawthorne Museum in his Pennsylvania hometown. Simon's little sister went missing from the museum when they were children and he's back to try and figure out what really happened to her once and for all. But when Simon starts seeing and hearing things in the museum that shouldn't be possible will he accomplish his goal of finding out what happened to his sister or will he go mad trying?

As a resident dinosaur lover I loved this book. I really appreciated the author doing the research (coupled with his love of dinosaurs too) to make the book scientifically accurate. I didn't want to put this down and just kept telling myself one more chapter. I was also surprised at how much I loved the ending and wasn't expecting it to hit me that hard.

If you love dinosaurs, creepy museum's and descents into madness this book is for you.


Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC!

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This one was so close to being a hit for me. I was admittedly first drawn to this novel by the title and cover art since I've been a dino-lover since I was young, and then drawn in by the lost sibling, haunting, mystery premise to the novel. I just feel that the story never really "took off" for me. The plot trudged along for a really long time and I felt that some of the issues presented by the story were not ever fully fleshed out. The resolution to the story, while partly satisfying because we finally found out the whole story, was super rushed and anti-climatic and I feel that this story just ended with a dud.

All that said, the story did still keep me entertained and I did become invested in Dr. Nealy and his pursuit of solving the mystery of his sister's disappearance, so this novel was not a huge miss.

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I'm an adult yet I still love dinosaurs and ghosts so this was the perfect mash up. Taking place in a science museum was just the cherry on top. I love this book from beginning to end and recommend it repeatedly on Social Media. Thanks so much for the arc!

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A haunting portrayal of memory, grief, and the insatiable search for truth. Luke Dumas’s novel, The Paleontologist, blends science and the metaphysical in a story of one man’s search for answers to his sister’s disappearance twenty years earlier.

Review | The Paleontologist

Even as far as ghost stories go, The Paleontologist is a story that haunted me long after I finished it. The most troubling imagery in the book isn’t the ghostly dinosaur figures that haunt the halls of the Hawthorne museum, but rather the whisps of memories that hang over Simon like dark clouds.

“In my field, a partial skeleton can still be considered complete.”

Simon Nealy is a young prodigy in the field of Paleontology, having risen the ranks at the Field Museum at a young age. A horribly break up caused by trauma and the breakdown of Simon’s mental health in the wake of the pandemic cause Simon to seek something else. That comes in the form of a position at the Hawthorne Museum of Natural History, which is located in Simon’s hometown in Pennsylvania.

Simon has not returned in decades, so many of his memories of his childhood are broken and grim. Many of his worst memories surround this museum—the time he realized his attraction to the same sex at an exhibit which led to years of mocking from his classmates, the disappearance of his sister from this very museum when she was only six years old. Simon and Morgan had been sent without their mother—an addict who disappointed them over and over. Morgan remained in the bug exhibit while Simon went to look at the dinosaurs. Morgan was never seen again and Simon has spent his life wracked with guilt.

When child services eventually intervenes, Simon went to a suburb of Chicago to live with his Aunt Colleen. Knowing the trauma that plagued Simon’s childhood, Colleen took him to the city as she got to know the child she had taken responsibility for, including a trip to the Field Museum that ultimately reminds Simon of his love of museum, dinosaurs, and history.

“You must forgive yourself, Simon,” his therapist implores.
“But how can I when they never even found her bones?”

Back at the Hawthorne Museum, Simon finds the pandemic has shuttered what little was left of the museum. He’s tasked with building an exhibit to showcase a dinosaur discovered by his predecessor, Dr. Albert Mueller. The paleontologist had been asked to leave the museum fifteen years earlier, leaving behind an ill-preserved set of dinosaur bones he had discovered and troubling diary entries heavily guarded in the museum’s files.

While working at the museum, Simon is haunted by sounds from an unseen dinosaur prowling the building. Is it his imagination, or is something haunting the Hawthorne Museum? But more troubling than the ghostly sounds are the real clues that Simon uncovers that suggest his sister Morgan never left the museum. Who was responsible for taking her life? And where are her bones?

The story weaves together Simon’s past and his present. Simon is a meek figure, both in physicality and in personality. But beneath it all lies a man who is dogged in his search for answers about what happened to his sister. The story carries many layers, and Dumas brings atmospheric scenes and elegant prose to make the story (like the dinosaur bones themselves) come to life.

The mystery will keep the reader hooked as more troubling twists and turns begin to paint a picture of what happened to Morgan all of those years ago. I also felt that there was some catharsis in Simon’s story. His grief has consumed most of his life, robbing him of relationships, social connections, and happiness. But his grief also fuels him to find the truth. There’s a symmetry in Simon’s work and his life that I found poetic. I won’t spoil where the book heads, but go in knowing that the reader will (along with Simon) find many of the answers they seek. But still, as in life, not everything can be explained.

Thank you to Atria Books for my copy. Opinions are my own.

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Wow! I am blown away by this unique story. It was frightening, heart-wrenching, detailed, and compelling. I always gravitate towards a story set in and around a museum. My best pitch for this book is if Night at the Museum was a horror movie. But that doesn't encapsulate all the layers that elevated this work above so many other horror novels. I felt for Simon, even while I was frustrated by him at times. The depiction of his acute grief and anguish over his terrible childhood and the loss of his sister was tangible. My heart broke for him. The various characters that staff the museum were so realistic and familiar. I appreciated the fact that not everyone is as two-dimensional as they might originally seem to Simon, which reveals this writer's sophistication.

I am grateful to the publisher for providing a free copy of this work to me in exchange for my honest review. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes the works of Jennifer McMahon, Grady Hendrix, Simone St James, and Michael Koryta.

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Luke Dumas' previous novel, A History of Fear, was one of my favourite reads last year, so I was excited to give this one a go.

While I liked A History of Fear more, The Paleontologist was still a satisfying read with a unique premise. Would recommend.

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A haunting story as Simon is still disturbed by the disappearance of his little sister after all these years. And then he makes a horrific discovery at the museum. I thought the story was very engaging and even appreciated the references to the pandemic.
Many thanks to Atria and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion. .

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The Paleontologist is about Simon Nealy and how he accepts a position at a natural history museum in his hometown. This is the same museum where his six year old sister went missing. Sadly this book started off slow for me and the ghost dinosaur part I did not get it. Overall the author did a great job writing this book and I did enjoy reading this one. Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for this ARC book in exchange of my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for this ARC. Thank you to the author for taking me on this journey with you.
#NetGalley #AtriaBooks #LukeDumas #ThePaleontologist #Bookstagram

Title: The Paleontologist
Author: Luke Dumas
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: October 31, 2023
Themes and Trigger Warnings: child abduction, child death, ghosts, gore, family drama, drug abuse, child abuse/neglect

Well, this book was way better than it had any right to be. It’s about a paleontologist named Simon Nealy. Simon has been doing everything he can to distance himself from his painful childhood filled with abuse and neglect at the hands of his junkie mother. When the museum from which his little sister was abducted suddenly opens the Director of Paleontology position, however, he quickly takes it. Simon feels that, if he can find out exactly what happened to Morgan, he can finally begin to heal. Sometimes, though, things are better left extinct.

It would be easy to call this book another Jurassic Park, but this book had a whole lot going for it than just dinosaurs. Firstly, there were ghost dinosaurs!! What more do I need to know?! There was more, though, so much more. While I consider Jurassic Park to be more of a creature feature, action story, this one was a ghost story with a side of crime novel. In addition to the ghost animals and their angst, there is the kidnapping of Simon’s younger sister when they were both children. Simon has returned to work at the very museum where the kidnapping occurred. He’s desperate to find out what happened to his little sister. He feels that his sister’s kidnapping is his fault because he was supposed to be watching her. I found this aspect particularly heart-breaking as Simon was only ten years old when this happened. No child that age should have that kind of responsibility placed on his shoulders.
While reading the synopsis of this book, it would be easy to assume that it would be silly or cheesy. Allow me to assure you that it isn’t. The ghost dinosaurs are both frightening and sympathetic as they, like any of us, merely tried to survive and protect their loved ones. This story is full of sympathetic characters that are well established. I even found some sympathy for some of the less likable characters, such as Fran, the lady in charge of fundraising. There were a couple of characters that I couldn’t stand though, such as Simon’s mother. I tried but I couldn’t scrape up any sympathy for her.
I really enjoyed this book. It was equally emotional as scary. This story has crime, gore, ghosts, family drama and a host of other things to sink one’s literary teeth into. This was my first book by Luke Dumas and I’m looking forward to reading his other novel.

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Let me start by saying that I loved the cover art. It drew my eye immediately and I had to pick this one up to learn more. Billed as "A haunted paleontologist returns to the museum where his sister was abducted years earlier and is faced with a terrifying and murderous spirit in this chilling novel", I thought this was right up my alley. Who doesn't love dinosaurs and a good mystery?

Unfortunately, I thought the pace was lagging and it had trouble holding my attention. I thought it had a lot of promise, but the execution didn't quite get it right. Some editing could have picked up the pace, and my interest.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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I was sold on The Paleontologist after the publisher's synopsis noted it to be about a haunted paleontologist...

The full synopsis sounded gripping. There's also a fabulous cover, plus, a short, simple, yet effective, title.
As a one-time Anthropology major, who focused in Physical Anthropology, I felt like this was the Horror novel I'd been waiting for. Sadly, it absolutely wasn't.

In this story we follow Curator of Paleontology, Dr. Simon Nealy, who has returned to his hometown in Pennsylvania during the Covid pandemic to begin work at the Hawthorne Museum of Natural History, a museum he remembers well from his childhood. It's actually the last place he ever saw his little sister. Morgan was just 6-years old when she was abducted from the museum, at a time when she was purportedly to be under the supervision of Simon, who wasn't much older.

Their mother was a real piece of work, and she's the one who put them both in that position on that fated day. Simon has been haunted severely by the event ever since, whilst Mom seemingly feels zero responsibility.

As he returns now, the past is brought to the surface once again and poor Simon is left wondering if his sister's spirit is still trapped at the Hawthorne somehow. He is seeing and hearing things he can't explain. The museum is a cage of wonder and terrors.

I am not going to go on about this too much. It absolutely wasn't for me and frankly, I'm super disappointed about it. IMO, this book is just one more thing that Covid ruined. The concept itself is great. The execution, not so much. I was so anxious for this to end. I even switched from an ebook to the audio to try to make it go by quicker.

I don't know, perhaps if you enjoy being reminded of Covid every third paragraph or so, you might enjoy it more than I did. An example would be, if you've ever wondered about the masking status of each and every character you meet, than this one may be for you.

It wasn't just the pandemic chat that ruined this for me though, the MC, Simon, was also as dull as dirt, IMO. He was giving me nothing. But in fairness, neither was anyone else. I wasn't drawn in, compelled, or intrigued. Big meh energy. I'm happy to move on. I'm not giving on this author. I will give them another shot. I'm just hoping this is a one-off.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Even though this wasn't my cup of tea, I definitely appreciate it.

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“A haunted paleontologist returns to the museum where his sister was abducted years earlier and is faced with a terrifying and murderous spirit in this chilling novel.”

We are big dinosaur lovers in this house. Combine that with the above blurb and I knew this was a book I had to read! This had quite a unique premise and just dripped with atmosphere. Simon returns to his hometown to take a job at the museum where his sister disappeared from years ago. He is charged with reconstructing a skeletal specimen of a dinosaur that has been in storage for ages. As he uncovers secrets about the dinosaur’s origin, he also unearths secrets about his sister and just what happened to her all those years ago.

Do you believe in dinosaur ghosts? I sure as hell would love to see a dinosaur in the flesh, and after reading this I discovered a spectre dinosaur is right up my alley too!

Paleontology lovers will likely enjoy this story. Yes, you have to suspend your belief a bit, but it’s worth the ride. Poignant, intriguing and entertaining, The Paleontologist is not one to miss!

Thank you @netgalley and @atriabooks for the digital ARC!

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Thank you to NetGalley, Luke Dumas and Atria books for the free ebook in exchange for an honest.

When I heard people saying this was reminiscent of Jurassic Park I NEEDED it. It’s my favourite comfort movie and I love dinosaurs.

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THE PALEONTOLOGIST is the unlikely combination of science, mystery, and the otherworldly. Dumas expertly moved from detailed paleontology to the emotional hardships of Simon to a hint of something looming in the dark.

Here is the thing. I didn’t think this book was going to be as crazy (in a good way) and so completely addictive as it was. The pace moved at just the right speed for the reader to compile all the information about the mystery of Simon’s missing sister and solve the case. And then there is the plot itself. It was filled with heart and suspense with a huge dose of the darkness that lies within humanity.

All in all, this was a book that pulled me with Simon’s backstory but kept me reading because of all the twists and turns set in the Hawthorne Museum. The reveals, duplicity, uniqueness of characters, and fascinating dinosaur facts make for a book that surprised me in the best way possible.

Audiobook Note: I opted to listen to most of this book because of the narrator Graham Halstead. He just brought the story to life for me. At the parts where there was a lot of core science and paleontology speak, it could have been boring. However, it wasn’t. Halstead’s inflection, pace, and tone of his voice perfectly paired with this book.

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I’m obsessed with this book. Dumas’s first book was not my thing, but this one knocked it out of the park. Dinosaur ghosts? Museums? A modern and prehistoric mystery? As a lifelong lover of “Night at the Museum,” sign me up!

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