Killing Dragons by Kristie Clark

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Dolphins have always fascinated me. I used to pretend I was a dolphin as a kid. I even practised holding my breath underwater for two complete laps in our pool. It is why I’ve jumped at the chance to review Killing Dragons.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. 

Back in the Navy, Taffy was practically his shadow, and he knew that dolphins have excellent memory, superior even to an elephant. It had been too long since he’d last visited, but she never failed to recognize him. The thought tugged at his heartstrings.

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 1454-1456). Delphi Imprint LLC.

 

Cover Killing Dragons by Kristie Clark

Kristie Clark’s background

Kristie holds a BS in biology and a BA in philosophy. Her research for her degree was about subspecies of tide pool fish, and the impact of pollution on dinoflagellates.

She is a paediatrician with a medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine. Kristie completed her internship and residency at the Children’s Medical Center Dallas. She also worked in the Emergency Department of Cook Children’s at Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Kristie and her husband pursued a career in frontier rural medicine. It is their passion to educate and motivate health workers to work in underserved areas.

Growing up, her family often moved since her father served in the US Navy. Her favourite place was Puerto Rico, where she learned to speak Spanish. She also enjoyed many hours of snorkelling in the Caribbean Reef. Kristie also acquired a Lionfish spearing license from Roatan Marine Park Bay Islands.

Killing Dragons are the first book in the Order of the Dolphin series. Other books in the series are Dragon Gold (Book 2) and Dragon Clan (Book 3). The author also published Hatching a Dragon and Dragon of the Sea. You get the prologues to the series free when you subscribe to Kristie’s newsletter.

Killing Dragons – Summary

Killing Dragons is about the hunt for a sea dragon. Or the Lusca, according to the beliefs of the natives. This monster creates havoc for the fish farms and threatens Eva’s dolphins. They are critical for her research on dolphin vocabulary.

Kristie uses her experience and knowledge to describe many experiences in the book. It includes scuba diving, Lionfish spearing, and the effects of pollution on sea life. Her medical experience helps her to characterise Dr Thomas Sternberg – a pediatric oncology researcher. 

Eva Paz

Eva is a researcher and works at RIMS (The Roatan Institute for Marine Science). She holds her dolphins at Bailey’s Key, a small island near the main island of Roatan. Her goal is to create a catalogue of the dolphin’s sounds and whistles. But for her own interest, she focuses on how dolphins communicate with each other. 

Taffy understood Eva’s talk and hand signals, but sadly, Eva could not understand the transmissions Taffy sent back. Taffy could tell Eva wanted to understand, though, so she worked hard, hoping that one day they could truly communicate with each other.

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 980-982). Delphi Imprint LLC.

She is the sole provider for her family, consisting of her mother, Soledad, and Luis Jnr. Her research depends on a grant from a university in the US. The deadline for her research is looming, and Eva struggles to complete her work. 

Eva is the only doctorate-level marine biologist in Roatan. So she often needs to help the police investigate deaths in or near the water. It frustrates her because she loses valuable research time. They need her to confirm natural deaths, like drowning or shark attacks. But sometimes it is foul play since the drug cartels often cover up deaths as accidents.

Also Read:  Turtle Crossing by Malve von Hassell

Eva fears the cartels because they killed her brother Hector. He died as a young boy during a shootout between drug dealers and the American Seals. It is why she is reluctant to work with Ignacio, a cartel member, to hunt down the sea dragon terrorising the coast.

Thomas Sternberg

Thomas is an ex-Navy Seal who used to work with Taffy, the dolphin. She used to mark old mines with tracking devices for the team to detonate them safely. After leaving the Seals, he became a paediatrician and researcher. He works to find a cure for cancer through genetic engineering. He has developed GTAC, used to kill cancer cells from the inside. 

That technique allowed Thomas to kill cancer cells from the inside, by putting cancer killers inside a common cold virus, then infecting the cancer cells with it.

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 318-319). Delphi Imprint LLC.

His treatment worked a miracle for little Nevaeh, who has a rare melanoma. Shortly after, she became very ill with flu-like symptoms. But the tests could find no infections or inflammation. The hospital blamed Thomas’ experimental treatment, and he lost his job and his girlfriend.

He joins his old friend, Mel, to help him with scuba diving classes at a new scuba diving shop in Roatan. It will also allow him to meet with Taffy. And Eva, the girl he saved, when a cartel leader tried to rape her.

Taffy, the dolphin

After Taffy retires from her work with Thomas, she becomes Eva’s main research subject. She is intelligent and always eager to work. Her best friends are Finn, the wholphin, and Rascal, the cattle dog. 

Taffy awoke early, before twilight, and let out a long sigh as she surfaced to breathe. The moon peeked out from behind the clouds and the water phosphoresced. It was her time now before the sun rose and her work began.

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 967-969). Delphi Imprint LLC.

Taffy loves to jump over the sea gate to go for a swim in the ocean. Until one day, she returns without her one pectoral fin. A college student finds her fin, and stuck in it was a conical tooth. A tooth that starts rumours of the mythical Lusca. But Eva knew she had to find the sea dragon to keep her dolphins safe. 

Lusca, the sea dragon

Thomas decides to join forces with Eva and help her to catch the Lusca. The tests on the conical tooth reveal that it is a Tylosaurus, a creature not supposed to exist. They can only guess that someone with no good intentions reverse-engineered it. 

“Actually, even though it’s Cretaceous era, the Tylosaurus is a prehistoric marine lizard, not a dinosaur. Either way, it’s not supposed to exist.”

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 3403-3404). Delphi Imprint LLC. 

It puts them in a race against Ignacio, who wants to recover the Lusca for its possible monetary gains. But Eva feels they should kill it due to its threat against the villagers and her dolphins. Ignacio is ruthless and has plenty of resources, while Eva and Thomas have very little. But their best weapon turns out to be Taffy, Finn, and a pod of wild dolphins.

What did I like?

I really love this book. It has all the elements of a good thriller. There are many threats against Eva – through the drug cartels and the sea dragon, and plenty of action in the narrative. Like when the Lusca attacks various people and the many attempts to catch him. 

Characters

The book has a great cast of various characters – all unique and contributing to the storyline. The author uses different viewpoints to let us feel and understand the characters’ pain, fear, and thoughts. For example, Eva’s feelings towards Thomas. She blames him for her brother’s death, even though a cartel member shot him during a shootout with the Seals. We see her struggle to forgive him and come to terms with the fact that he was not at fault. 

Also Read:  Asylum by Tamera Lawrence

A dolphin’s perspective

I love the parts of the book where we see everything from Taffy’s eyes. It gives clues of how dolphins see the world, identify objects, and communicate. Eva’s research fascinated me, especially when she discovered dolphins could innovate, plan, and work together. 

I’d have to say you’ve got a pretty remarkable research breakthrough right here. These dolphins’ actions are coordinated, and much more than just looking out for themselves. They care about each other.”

By: Kristie Clark. Killing Dragons: Order of the Dolphin Book One (Kindle Locations 4546-4548). Delphi Imprint LLC. 

Who is pregnant?

An amusing part of the book is Thomas’s misunderstanding about Eva’s ‘pregnancy’, and the clever way in which the author orchestrates it. 

And not so much?

The pace of the novel is slow for a thriller. Even though the sea dragon is scary, it seems to be docile in some of the encounters, barely acknowledging the intruders in his territory. 

But the tension in the narrative doesn’t only stem from these encounters. It also comes from the interaction between Eva and Ignacio. He scares her, and even though she refuses to help him catch the Lusca, she fears the consequences. 

The slow pace is also due to the many details about Eva’s research and her interactions with the dolphins. But I believe it is an integral part of the narrative in explaining the dolphins’ role in finding and killing the Lusca.

Should you read Killing Dragons?

I highly recommend this book. The author uses a variety of characters, all contributing to the storyline. The Lusca is a fearsome creature, and the fact that it shouldn’t exist adds to its intrigue.

Eva and Thomas must be resourceful and use all their skills and knowledge to identify and track down the Lusca. The birth of a baby always appeals, and the attraction between Eva and Thomas creates an interesting background story. 

There are book discussion questions at the end of the book, but please note that they contain spoilers. Thus, first, read the book before you look at the questions. You will also enjoy the Facts in Fiction section at the back, where you can check facts and fiction in the narrative. 

Facts and Fiction topics

Roatan | The Lusca | Wholpins | Dolphin Communication | Gene Therapy | Lionfish | Dinoflagellates | Ciguatera Fish | Poisoning and Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning | Tylosaurus | USS Bougainville | Order of the Dolphin 

For another thriller involving an ancient creature, please read my review of Colony. Or check out my interview with the author, Benjamin Cross.

The book explores many issues, like pollution, genetic research, keeping animals in captivity, etc. Are there any of these issues you feel strongly about? We would love to hear from you. Please share with us in the comments?

Follow Christie Clark

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Book Info

Language:

English

Print Length:

208 pages

Publication Date:

1 July 2021

Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise

Categories: Short Stories | Mysteries

Trigger Warnings: Violence | Death | Profanity

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Hi! I am Susan

Welcome to my adventure

Why Read or Rot?

I have started reading at the age of four. I can remember how often I used to read under the covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to sleep.

During my early school years, we used to visit the library once a week. I couldn’t pick out my new book fast enough! By the end of the period, I would have finished it already, leaving me with nothing to read for the rest of the week!

Growing up, Fridays was the highlight of my week. Dad would pack the whole family into the car and off we go! You guessed right……to the library! We were a family of readers.

In my adult years, I’ve developed a variety of interests like technology, photography, gardening and even writing. But reading was and will always be a part of my life!

Reading for me is like breathing. If I cannot read, my soul will quietly rot away….

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