The Lost World
I still have a mental picture of when I bought the book Jurassic Park. It must have been pretty long ago because I could still read paperbacks - I sat on the floor in front of the old wall heater, reading avidly about dinosaurs treading the earth and eating chocolate-covered marshmallow pinwheel cookies. The book was so scary I was afraid to go to bed :)
Sadly, Jurassic Park doesn't exist in audio except in a seriously abridged form so now I can't reread it, but I'm reading the next best thing, The Lost World, also by Michael Crichton. There was a movie made of this book too, starring Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore, which sticks fairly close to the book, but the book is more fun.
Here's the plot summery from Crichton's site ....
Six years after the death of John Hammond and the mysterious destruction of his Jurassic Park island of Isla Nubla, mathematician Ian Malcolm discovers a second island off Costa Rica, where Hammond created his genetically bred dinosaurs. He travels there with a scientific research team including paleobiologist Richard Levine, Sarah Harding, and two stowaway kids, Kelly and Arby, both 11 years old. Once on the island, they find themselves on the run for their lives from some of the killer dinosaurs with whom Ian has already crossed paths, along with some new killers. The group not only has to contend with the dinosaurs, but with murderous rival scientist Lewis Dodgson and his cronies, who are out to steal the dinosaur eggs for themselves, as well.
Here's a brief excerpt from the book - Levine and his guide, Diego, trekking through the mysterious jungle island where it's suspected dinosaurs may be found, take a break, resting by a stream .....
Sitting on his haunches, Levine heard a soft squeak coming from somewhere to his right. Looking over, he saw the ferns moving slightly. He stayed very still, waiting.
After a moment, a small animal peeked out from among the fronds. It appeared to be the size of a mouse; it had smooth, hairless skin and large eyes mounted high on its tiny head. It was greenish-brown in color, and it made a continuous, irritable squeaking sound at Levine, as if to drive him away. Levine stayed motionless, hardly daring to breathe.
He recognized this creature, of course. It was a mussaurus, a tiny prosauropod from the Late Triassic. Skeletal remains were found only in South America. It was one of the smallest dinosaurs known. A dinosaur, he thought.
Even though he had expected to see them on this island, it was still startling to be confronted by a living, breathing member of the Dinosauria. Especially one so small. He could not take his eyes off it. He was entranced. After all these years, after all the dusty skeletons - an actual living dinosaur!
The little mussaur ventured farther out from the protection of the fronds. Now Levine could see that it was longer than he had thought at first. It was actually about ten centimeters long, with a surprisingly thick tail. All told, it looked very much like a lizard. It sat upright, squatting on its hind legs on the frond. He saw the rib cage moving as the animal breathed. It waved its tiny forearms in the air at Levine, and squeaked repeatedly.
Slowly, very slowly, Levine extended his hand.
The creature squeaked again, but did not run. If anything it seemed curious, cocking its head the way very small animals do, as Levine's hand came closer.
Finally Levine's fingers touched the tip of the frond. The mussaur stood on its hind legs, balancing with its outstretched tail. Showing no sign of fear, it stepped lightly onto Levin's hand, and stood in the creases of his palm. He hardly felt the weight, it was so light. The mussaur walked around, sniffed Levine's fingers. Levine smiled, charmed.
Then, suddenly, the little creature hissed in annoyance, and jumped off his hand, disappearing into the palms. Levine blinked, unable to understand why.
Then he smelled a foul odor, and heard a heavy rustling in the bushes on the other side. There was a soft grunting sound. More rustling. For a brief moment, Levine remembered that carnivores in the wild hunted near streambeds, attacking animals when they were vulnerable, bending over to drink. But the recognition came too late; he heard a terrifying high-pitched cry, and when he turned he saw that Diego was screaming as his body was hauled away, into the bushes. Diego struggled; the bushes shook fiercely; Levine caught a glimpse of a single large foot, its middle toe bearing a short curving claw. Then the foot pulled back. The bushes continued to shake.
Suddenly, the forest erupted in frightening animal roars all around him. He glimpsed a large animal charging him. Richard Levine turned and fled, feeling the adrenaline surge of pure panic, not knowing where to go, knowing only that it was hopeless. He felt a heavy weight suddenly tear at his backpack, forcing him to his knees in the mud, and he realized in that moment that despite all his planning, despite all his clever deductions, things had gone terribly wrong, and he was about to die.