Why did you choose this book?
When did you read this book?
Who would you recommend this book to?
White Shark by Peter Benchley
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 15th, 1995
Why did you choose this book? Since it's the month of screams and scares, I thought it would be good to go with one of the books that scared the begeezus out of me back when I first read it. I also wanted to read something more by Peter Benchley after reading Jaws, which I found to be on the too-long side for the overall story.
When did you read this book? Summer of 1996 (Rather long time ago, but this story still sticks with me.)
Who would you recommend this book to? I'd give this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers and especially those who enjoyed or even just liked Jaws or any of Benchley's other works. Personally, I liked it much better than Jaws because there was also the tie-in with experiments done during World War II that explained how the creature was created. That alone was freaky.
At a small marine institute off the coast of Connecticut, only marine biologist Simon Chase realizes that a sixteen-foot pregnant Great White Shark is feeding in the area. But even Simon doesn't know that a far deadlier creature is about to come out of the deep and threaten everything he cares for. A creature whose malevolence is unthinkable. Whose need to feed is insatiable. And whose relentless hunt for prey is unstoppable.
Twenty years after his huge bestseller Jaws, the master of the deep has done it again, letting loose a chilling new predator that only he could create. Drawing on his singular knowledge of the sea, science, and history, Peter Benchley masterfully spins a suspense-filled novel that hits you on a primal level, makes your heart pound, and leaves your blood running cold.
Maybe it was due to my age when I read it, but despite what some reviewers say, I did enjoy this horrific story about a creature that terrorized a community both in the water AND on land. The main reason I read this book was because Benchley wrote it as a means of undoing the damage caused with the "shark scare" from Jaws in the 1970s. It was during my shark fascination stage, and I was really big on shark conservation (which I still am, just not as vocally).
The novel is divided into two stories, one taking place in the past and one taking place in the present and told almost in alternating chapters. While the main story involves Simon Chase's crew, readers also get to see just how the amphibious creature was created in the past during World War II in one of Josef Mengele's experiments. When it comes to monsters like this, I really get into the story when I know more of the background of its creation depending on the origin. Where did it come from? How did it reach a civilized area? Why does it have such a sense of malevolence that animals do not usually possess? All of these questions were answered in the chapters told involving the Nazi scientist and his experiment, and reading this part actually made the story all the more chilling for me.
Overall, it is one of my favorite horror stories simply because the creature does not give much of a reprieve to the potential prey. If you thought it wasn't safe to go back into the water, what happens when you're not safe even on dry land? I get a chill just thinking about it, and I hope other readers enjoyed or will enjoy White Shark (republished in 1997 under the name Creature).
My Rating: 4 Dishes - Enjoyed to the Last Bite