Raptor Canyon

Fiction - Adventure
342 Pages
Reviewed on 04/12/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dirk Cussler calls Raptor Canyon "A captivating joyride... a modern day monkey-wrench gang fights for the preservation of the land and their own survival. Relentless danger mixed with dusty adventure makes for a gem of a read." Reader’s Favorite has awarded 5 stars to all three of his novels, calling Raptor Canyon “a hoot of an adventure novel… most highly recommended.”

An avid backcountry hiker, canoer, pilot, and whitewater enthusiast, the author takes his readers on adventures in ancient lands that shape the motives and spirits of his characters.

A.W. Baldwin finished his first novel, Desert Guardian, in 2017. His second novel, Raptor Canyon, builds on a character introduced in Desert Guardian, a moonshining hermit living deep in the remote canyons of Utah. Sandstone monuments, sheer canyons, and startling vistas provide the unique settings for these thrillers. Adventure, mystery, and personal challenge combine in a world surreal in its scope and deeply rooted in American history.

Baldwin has practiced law for more than 35 years. He began his career with a poverty law fellowship award and later became Executive Director of Wind River Legal Services, a legal aid program serving the Wind River Indian Reservation and southeastern Wyoming. He has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal, Tribal, and State Courts. He won the right of the Northern Arapaho Tribe to operate the full gamut of casino-style gaming without state control. He has successfully litigated First Amendment religious liberties, voting rights, Tribal sovereignty, and for environmental justice.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

Beautiful, rugged and remote, Little Horse Canyon has been compromised by a shady land grabbing deal and will become a tourist destination in Raptor Canyon by A.W. Baldwin. Wyatt, a bottom level associate at a prestigious law firm, is called to join his boss, Todd William Winford IV, on a trip to the site of a major development in Utah. The renamed Raptor Canyon is the site of ancient petroglyphs that the partners hope will bring in scientists and tourists alike to make their proposed resort and dude ranch a big success – and a big money maker.

Relic, an old-timer who has lived his whole life in the expanse of what used to be Little Horse Canyon, comes across several men discussing the wall of petroglyphs when one is suddenly shot by another. Sickened by the experience and curious about the construction, Relic wants to find out what is going on. When Relic is leaving the mess tent, and is then confronted by the head of security, he accidentally bumps into Wyatt and the two flee as Lynch fires off some shots. Together, they escape through the rugged terrain and devise a plan to bring down the partners and save the natural beauty of the canyon along with the priceless petroglyphs. That is if they can escape with their lives.

Fantastic descriptions of the majestic canyon and tense action sequences keep you anxiously turning the pages in Raptor Canyon by A.W. Baldwin. Realistic dialogue and well-defined characters move this exciting story along with plenty of surprises and scares. Well done with plenty of excitement and wonderful descriptions. A terrific book for readers who appreciate a fast-moving tale that is relatively short, but action packed.

Jack Magnus

Raptor Canyon is an action and adventure mystery novel written by A.W. Baldwin. Relic was stunned when he saw the heavy wooden stairs perched up against the sheer face of a sandstone cliff. It was as unlikely a sight as any that could be expected in the rugged canyon country of Utah. He had been drawn there by the equally unlikely sound of men, and had carefully surveilled the surrounding area. When he saw that the coast was clear, he bounded up the wooden stairs, hoping he’d reach the top before he was seen. The last time he had been up there, it had been with a friend. They’d worked much harder, however, to reach the summit, clambering over towering rocks and rough terrain. Hearing the men’s voices approaching, he hid behind some rocks and watched.

Relic could make out snippets of words, as a blond man uncovered a rock face that had been hidden by a tarp and showed it to his companions. The other two men listened to what appeared to be a request for more money; then one of them took out a gun and shot the speaker point-blank. When the other men left, Relic saw that the wounded man was still breathing, and approached him. Relic tried to quiet him down and said that he’d get help, but the man was dying before his eyes. He said the word "hoax" and claimed there was treasure up there, “the real deal” just before he died. Relic examined the portion of the wall the men had uncovered. Among the petroglyphs showing warriors and lizard-shaped creatures was the unmistakable form of a dinosaur’s skull and jaws.

A.W. Baldwin’s action and adventure thriller novel, Raptor Canyon, is a fast-paced and exciting tale about an unscrupulous attorney’s attempt to turn unspoiled Little Horse Canyon into a theme park and resort, using forged petroglyphs of a flesh-eating dinosaur. Baldwin’s plot is finely honed, and his characters are complex and believable. I particularly enjoyed the way Relic, the young attorney, Wyatt, and Old Man Snow’s granddaughter, Faye, become a dedicated and resourceful team who single-handedly risk life and limb going up against superior, and armed, forces. Winford and Lynch are the consummate villains, one a sadistic killer, the other having the ethics and cold-blooded nature of a carnivorous dinosaur himself. Baldwin’s writing style fits the action-oriented story to a tee, making it easy to visualize the rugged canyon country and natural settings. Raptor Canyon is a hoot of an adventure novel, and it’s most highly recommended.

Paul F. Johnson

Raptor Canyon by A.W. Baldwin starts with an old rancher being swindled out of a piece of his property, a beautiful remote canyon that has been in his family for generations. What he does not realize is that the swindlers plan on using the unique rock art, a set of dinosaur petroglyphs, to turn a pristine canyon into a high-end tourist trap. A recluse named Relic traveling the canyon happens to see something bad, a man murdered in cold blood. Relic decides he must learn more. Wyatt, a young lawyer visiting the construction site, accidentally learns the truth about the project. The two men are suddenly thrust together on a wild, deadly adventure to escape a corrupt security chief trying desperately to find and eliminate them. Along their journey they meet Faye, the granddaughter of the old rancher, who also knows something isn’t right and joins their desperate plan to fight back and hopefully stop the evil and secure the fate of Raptor Canyon.

A.W. Baldwin has put together a well developed, well designed adventure story filled with death, danger, suspense and intrigue. I particularly liked the setting and his depiction of the area provided an excellent mental picture. The book is a quick, easy read, but is in need of some type of scene break indicators. I often had to go back and reread a paragraph to realize a scene in the chapter had changed. While slightly distracting, this did not lessen the overall quality of the book. Raptor Canyon is a good story and very enjoyable.