This Thriller was first published in 1999, but is far from the earliest works by the authors, as this reader here had assumed. So their first thriller “Cemetery Dance” is still on the to-read list .
Like in “Still Life with Crows”, Preston contributes his vast knowledge of Native American Culture and the ragged countryside of the Utah canyonlands, whereas Child might be responsible for the plot.
Nora Kelly, a young archeologist, is appointed leader of an expedition into the remotest possible canyon in Utah, where, she has learnt from a mysterious letter of her disappeared archeologist father, a huge and splendid Anasazi cliff dwelling is waiting to be discovered and revolutionize archeology. Her team of seven includes Sloane, the over-ambitious daughter of her boss, and Smithback, a young journalist. They are followed by a pair of Indian ghostlike “Skinwalkers”, who murder horses and expedition members in ceremonial fashion and thus spread terror as soon as the miraculous cliff city is discovered.
The main part, again, play the scenery and the weather, as the title indicates. The dreaded, in loving detail narrated flash flood washes most of the expedition away, leaving Nora and her faithful Smithback to fight against Sloane and the skinwalkers. Like an antique “deus ex machina” and old, wise Indian helps them to escape.