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Swimming Monkeys (Swimming Monkeys: Book 1) by Steve Hadden


Publisher: Telemachus Press

Date of publication: July 1st, 2012

Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Series: Swimming Monkeys

Swimming Monkeys: Genesis—Book 1

Swimming Monkeys: Revelation: Book 2

Swimming Monkeys: Exodus: Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | Indigo

Format read in: eBook

Where did I get Swimming Monkeys: Free (at the time) on Amazon

Trigger Warning: Violence, Death, Grief, PTSD (Ryan’s Uncle), Verbal Abuse.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An impossible promise…a remarkable discovery…a decision on behalf of mankind…

A cross between Jurassic Park and The Da Vinci Code, Swimming Monkeys is a coming-of-age thriller that examines the on-going struggle between science and religion.

Ryan Webster is a seventeen-year-old swimmer who despises his father, protects his mother and barely keeps gas in his truck. When he’s summoned to a Miami hospice by his dying grandfather, a renowned zoologist and founder of the world’s most famous primate park, he learns of a remarkable species of monkey kept secret by the Webster men since their discovery in 1926, the year after the Scopes Monkey Trial. He’s told their extermination is imminent, and he’s the only one who can find their rainforest, save the monkeys from man’s encroachment and decide if the world is now ready for their revelation.

As Ryan follows his grandfather’s clues to California and beyond, he’s tracked by a relentless mercenary, targeted by a radical Christian society and hunted by the world’s most famous atheist. Aided by his Iraqi War veteran turned surfer-dude uncle, Ryan discovers the monkeys can do much more than swim, and he learns their revelation will shock evolutionist and rock the foundation of the Bible. Now, his only hope to stay alive is to save the monkeys and live up to his promise to the greatest man he ever knew—and in the process become the man he’s not ready to be.

Beginning of the Book Impressions:

I was very interested in reading Swimming with Monkeys: Genesis. The blurb likened the book as a cross between Jurassic Park and The DaVinci Code. So, seeing that I liked the movie and the book, I figured I would like this book. And, for the most part, I did.

Swimming with Monkeys did start slowly. Normally, that would irk me, but in this case, it didn’t. The author had to show what Ryan’s personal/family life was like and how he would react to his grandfather’s last wish.

Ryan’s father was a dick, pardon my language. He was verbally abusive to Ryan and Ryan’s mother and hated his father. He had nothing nice to say as his father laid dying. His anger and hatred defined him the first half of the book, as did his need to have absolute control of Ryan, the Primate Park, and the trust. I did not like him.

Ryan, on the other hand, was the opposite of his father. He adored his grandfather and protected his mother. There was talk of his gift, but nothing was explained, which did irk me somewhat. All this talk about it and no hint about what it was? Got me annoyed. But, he was willing to do whatever it took to fulfill his grandfather’s wishes. He was slightly immature, but that was too be expected. He was seventeen.

The other prominent players of the book were also introduced: Thad, Ryan’s uncle, an atheist businessman, two radical Christian groups, and a 23-year-old woman trained to kill. The author did a fantastic job of introducing each person (or group) and explaining why they did (or didn’t) want these monkeys found. It made the book more interesting because some of these beliefs were deeply founded and threatened to destroy these people’s world/beliefs.

There wasn’t too much violence in the first half of the book. Ryan did get attacked at the Primate Center (and got helped out by his uncle). But other than that, it was mild. The only outrageous thing was Ryan’s father throwing what I called a man-tantrum.

Mid-Book Impressions:

The middle of the book starts Ryan’s journey to find the monkeys. If Ryan had gone alone, I would have found it unbelievable. But he had Uncle Thad with him. I want to add that Uncle Thad had a military background and could throw down if he had to. And he had too several times in the middle of the book.

The people chasing Ryan and Thad did get close to capturing/killing them at one point. That is when Addy was introduced. She is the 23-year-old, and she was a BADASS. I mean, she took out 3-4 intruders by herself before helping Thad and Ryan. The only downside to her being introduced was that Ryan made puppy dog eyes at her for the rest of the book….sigh.

The book did lag a tiny bit during the journey through the Amazon to where the monkeys lived. But once they hit that crater, it picked right back up. The bad guys had followed them, and one group torched the crater. When I mean torched, everything was burned to the ground, and nothing survived. Well, something did survive—a few somethings.

End of Book Impressions:

The monkeys were introduced at the beginning of the end of the book. I wasn’t surprised by what was revealed, but at the same time, I felt a little letdown. Not a great feeling to start at the end of the book.

I also wondered how on earth they were going to get the monkeys back home. I mean, considering that they were described as a cross between “an ape and a monkey,” it would have been almost impossible to get them on on a plane. I was impressed with what the author came up with.

A couple of twists happened at the end of the book—one involving Ryan’s immediate family and the other with the monkeys. I did not see the one with the monkeys coming, but I did see the other one. The author did leave the book open for another book.

My Overall Thoughts on Swimming Monkeys:

I enjoyed reading Swimming Monkeys. It was a well-written thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat (I got nervous at the end of the book).

The characters were believable and 3D. My only issue with the book was that I was not too fond of the monkeys and how they were portrayed. It was almost too much to absorb.

I would recommend this book to anyone under 16. It was a clean book (no sex). There was a kissing scene between Ryan and Addy that raised my eyebrows (he’s 18 and she’s 23). The violence wasn’t graphic either.

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