Cryptid Hunters
Author Roland Smith
Cover artist Gail Doobinin
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher Hyperion Books
Publication date
27 Dec 2004
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 348 pp (first edition, paperback)
ISBN 0-439-79923-6
OCLC 61772218
Followed by Tentacles 

Cryptid Hunters is a 2004 novel by Roland Smith about twins living with their uncle who fall out of a plane into the Congolese jungle. Their uncle comes searching for them, but his enemy Noah Blackwood is in the same jungle, and their uncle must get to them before Blackwood does. Cryptid Hunters was on the 2007-2008 Lone Star Reading List[1] and took 3rd Place in the Missouri Association of School Librarians' Mark Twain Readers Award.[2] Prior to Smith's 2009 visit to the Talawanda Middle School in Oxford, Ohio, its students read Cryptid Hunters.[3] Smith gave a lecture on the book to a literature class and signed copies.[3]


Twins Marty and Grace O'Hara are thirteen years old. Marty is athletic, artistic, a great cook, a troublemaker, and has a photographic memory. Grace is quiet, observant and smart.

A Mokélé-mbembé egg found by Dr Laurel Lee was stolen during a break-in, but Lee was able to break in to Blackwood's GeneArk lab and steal it back, leaving no time to find her notes. Wolfe tells Lee that he and Blackwood are arch-enemies, and that he concocts lies and fools the audience with his on-TV persona.

Wolfe once worked for Blackwood, while he and Ted Bronsen worked together to catch a great white shark. Soon after, he and Ted quit the job, and with the half million dollars provided by Blackwood during the job, they made a company called eWolfe. They decide that since Masalito and the Mokélé-mbembé is mentioned in her field notes, they must go to the Congo and get to Lake Télé before Blackwood does, and discuss that the children will have to go back to boarding school.

Grace looks up Mokélé-mbembé, thinking it is a rare bird, when she finds out it is actually a dinosaur. She tells Marty, leaving out the part that they'll have to go back to school. Grace finds out that Dr. Lee is able to control her fears by pretending to walk on a tightrope, and that her parents were both circus artists.

Grace later learns that Wolfe sometimes wears a prosthesis, but will not tell her how he lost the leg. Marty wants to go to the Congo with Wolfe, but Grace doesn't. Wolfe says it's too dangerous, and that he would have taken them to Lake Télé anyway, but not on this trip.

Meanwhile, although one of the rules is not to wander the island, Marty decides to take a walk, and goes down to the lake shore, which he finds out is a salt lake. As the Raven circles above him, a creature he thinks is Sasquatch comes out of the forest. He jumps into the lake, but then encounters what he thinks are sharks. He struggles, and is made unconscious by the hypothermia.

As Wolfe checks his own GIZMO, he finds out that Marty is drowning. He and Dr. Lee rush to the rescue, and Marty is waterlogged, but recovers quickly. Grace finds out that she has been selfish as the only thing she could think of when Marty was drowning was what was going to happen to herself. As Grace is holding PD, the Sasquatch-like creature grabs PD and runs into the forest.

Wolfe blows his whistle, and explains that the "sasquatch" is really a Bonobo named Bo, and that the "sharks" were really dolphins. He also explains that Bo, the raven who is named Vid, and the dolphins have their own cameras and tracking tags that provides video for the Gizmos. Marty also finds out that he can send emails through the Gizmos, and sends emails to his friend Luther from boarding school. Marty still insists on going to the Congo, and Grace suddenly agrees. They also find out that they have to go back to boarding school, and even Grace is disappointed.

Marty also finds out that Ted Bronson, who works at QAQ, a lab on the island, hasn't gone outside in over 3 years. The workers eventually get the engine fixed on the plane, and Wolfe and Dr. Lee decide they must go immediately, and the plane is to take them down to the Congo, and take the kids back to Switzerland. A lot of the controls on the plane are automatic.

While on the plane, Grace finds out that Marty had let Bo out of her cage. They go down the chute, and discover than Bo and PD had gone down it. As Grace tries to retrieve Bo, Marty suggests giving Bo a banana to lure Bo back up. As Grace peels a banana, Bo takes the whole bunch, and goes farther down the chute. Suddenly, the chute automatically opens, and they fall from 18,000 feet in the air towards the ground, and Grace bumps her head and faints in fear. Marty has taken skydiving lessons, and has a parachute in the bag he is wearing. However, PD is free-falling through the air.

He grabs everyone, and the parachute deploys. He lands near a crocodile-infested lake, and Grace drifts away into the jungle. He uses his Gizmo to locate Grace, PD, and Bo. Meanwhile, the people on the plane discover that Marty, Grace, Bo, and PD are missing. His worried uncle contacts Marty on the Gizmo, and he explains what happened. His uncle explains, because of his location, that it will take at least a week to get to them.

Meanwhile, Grace wakes up, thinking that it's just a vivid dream and will be over with soon. Later, Marty and Grace meet, and Marty tells her it's not a dream. However, Grace suddenly becomes brave and calmly accepts the revelation that she had encountered her worst fears in real life. They wander across the jungle, while Marty is constantly bitten by bugs and leeches, but Grace only has a few bites. Luther and the others back at the boarding school realize Marty and Grace have not come back.

Marty emails him and explains the situation. Meanwhile, Wolfe and Dr. Laurel Lee are in a Humvee, crossing rivers, going towards Lake Télé. The twins arrive near the lake. Wolfe sends Marty an email explaining that he needs to avoid Butch McCall, Blackwood's number one guy, and how to use the molimo to call Masalito, as he always hides out of view.

Meanwhile, Butch McCall's camp is ruined by a Silverback gorilla, while it bumped into one of his men while relieving himself. The children forget what Wolfe had said about Butch and the molimo. Butch sees the children and spies on them, sending information back to Blackwood. Blackwood tells him to find the girl, and that the Mokélé-mbembé is no longer a priority. He steals the Gizmo while Marty is asleep, and Marty thinks he misplaced it. Eventually, he and Grace remember this place from her dream, and finds a key. They, along with Bo and PD, climb into the treehouse. Worried, and attempting to check on them, Uncle Wolfe sends the Gizmo an email, which is actually received by Butch. He pretends to be Marty and sends back an email. Wolfe later sends them an email, which again is received by Butch. He tells them to lock the doors, never to leave the skyhouse, and pull up the ladder. Meanwhile, Marty goes to retrieve the pack from below, and makes Grace promise not to go outside except maybe for a bath.

When Grace tries to open the door, she slips and is knocked unconscious by the knob. Butch and his men climb up to the treehouse, takes the tag off Grace, and kidnapps her. When Marty comes back, he sees no sign of Grace. When Wolfe checks back on Marty and Grace with the Bo cam, he only sees Marty and thinks Grace must be in another room.

Marty activates the molimo, and Masalito comes in the treehouse. They don't understand each other, but Marty draws pictures of what has happened to him and Grace and mentions the molimo and Masalito's name. Marty realises Butch must have kidnapped Grace. As Grace wakes up, Butch tells her half-lies and says that he is there to help her.

They both realize that Grace is actually the daughter of Rose, Blackwood's daughter, and Wolfe, and that Wolfe had handed her to her cousin Marty's parents, the O'Haras. Grace realises her nightmare was actually a memory, and that in it, Mokele-mbembe kills Rose and tears off Wolfe's leg. This is revealed to Dr. Lee by Wolfe while outside trying to sleep. Later, Wolfe realises that the emails didn't seem right, as Marty had never previously called the Gizmo a "pocket computer", as said in the email.

Marty and Masalito go to find Grace, and Wolfe and Laurel see a note through the Bo cam in the Treehouse. They also find out that Butch's men had been sent to kill Wolfe and Laurel. Soon, Wolfe and Laurel take off their tags and hang them in a tree, to avoid detection by Butch. After Grace gives first-aid to the man mauled by the gorilla, she drugs the food of Butch and his men. They fall asleep, and Grace escapes. Grace tries to escape but the man didn't fall asleep and wakes the other men and Butch. Butch follows Grace, and Marty catches up to her.

They attack Butch, and Marty steals his boot and takes the Gizmo, and throws the boot into a crocodile-infested swamp. Later, Marty and Grace go into a tunnel in the trees and see the body of Mokélé-mbembé. Wolfe tells them to set it on fire, so that Blackwood cannot retrieve its DNA.

Marty and Grace find the eggs in the nest of Mokélé-mbembé, and take them back to the skyhouse.

Character Biography[]

Grace O'Hara (Wolfe's Daughter)

At the beginning of Cryptid Hunters,known as Marty's fraternal twin sister. She is described constantly as 'little' because she is much shorter than Marty. She has black hair and blue eyes "the color of robin's eggs." (Just like Roses'.)She is left-handed. She aspires to be a surgeon. She possesses a stuffed animal named Monkey. Marty has only known her to lose her temper three times: When he put a snake in her bed, when he looked in her Moleskine notebook, and when he hid a bucket of cow manure in her closet. A fourth time is observed when she yells at Dr. Beasel. Throughout the book, Grace is inspired by Dr. Laurel Lee to list all her fears and write them down to conquer them. Her most important fear is of a nightmare that, upon waking, she cannot remember. Eventually it is realized that this is, in fact, a memory: the memory of life in the Congo and her mother's death. She has a trunk that used to belong to her mother, and it is revealed to have frankenstein monkey inside it. Wolfe is revealed to be Grace's father, having married her mother, Rose Blackwood. This makes Noah Blackwood Grace's grandfather. Wolfe tells Grace that, as a toddler, she was fearless, continuously putting herself in dangerous situations. After Rose's death by the dinosuar they tried to capture, Wolfe sent Grace to live with his sister, Sylvia, and her family. At this point, Grace realizes that she is not Marty's twin, she is his cousin, and that she is only twelve years old (they always said she was older)

Reading list[]

The following states and organizations have placed Cryptid Hunters on their suggested reading list:

  • Cryptid Hunters makes the 2008 Nene recommended reading list of Hawaii.[4]
  • 2007 - 2008 Mark Twain List[5]
  • 2007 McDaniel College "Black-Eyed Susan Books" Packet[6]
  • 2006 - 2007 Texas Lone Star List[1]
  • 2006 - 2007 Frederick County Public Schools[7]


  • 2009 - 2010 Young Hoosier Book Award[8]
  • 2007 - 2008 South Carolina Junior Book Award[9][10]
  • 2007 Colorado Children's Book Award[11]
  • 2006 - 2007 Sunshine State Young Readers Award winner[12]
  • 2007 Nevada Young Readers Award winner[13]
  • 2006 - 2007 Black-eyed Susan Award[11]

See Also[]

  • Tentacles (novel)
  • Mokele-mbembe
  • Roland Smith


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lone Star Reading List". City of Austin - APL. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  2. "2007-2008 Mark Twain Readers Award Winners". Missouri Association of School Librarians. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Talawanda School District (Author Roland Smith Visits TMS section)". Talawanda School District. September 29, 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  4. "2008 Recommended Book List". Nēnē. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  5. "Reading Challenge". Eldon R-I School District. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  6. "2007 Black-Eyed Susan Books Packet". McDaniel College. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  7. "WKMS Suggested 2006-2007 Reading Page". Frederick County Public Schools. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  8. "Young Hoosier Book Award". Indiana Library Federation. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  9. "South Carolina Junior Book Awards". Clover School District. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  10. "Hughes Academy Media Center". Greenville County Schools. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Children's Literature Reviews". Children's Literature Comprehensive Database. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  12. "Previous Winners". Sunshine State Young Reader's Award. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  13. "Oregon Authors - Smith, Roland". Oregon Authors. Retrieved 15 June 2010.