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Peter Benchley's Creature Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

We never thought it was really safe to go back in the water, and Benchley's new eco-thriller exploits the fear he engendered in Jaws . Here the menace is a creature spawned by a demented Nazi scientist, which has hatched 50 years later in a quiet Atlantic fishing community. Simon Chase has dropped his society wife and infant son, Max, to finish school and start the Osprey Island Marine Institute near Long Island's North Shore. Shark studies are his speciality. Chase fears the responsibilities of fatherhood, but when Max, now 12, visits, the two get on famously and soon Max has the run of the institute. Then, a crew tracking a pregnant Great White named Jaws spot a porpoise with a claw gash in its tail and see massive kills of sea life; when they then observe the same claw marks on Jaws herself, Chase knows "there's something out there." Enter Dr. Amanda Macy, who studies whales using sea lions with strapped-on video cameras. Macy leases the institute, both solving Chase's money woes and making first contact with the unknown menace. Soon Macy's camera gets a shot of a steel-clawed hand grappling with a sea lion. After additional bloody encounters at sea, the beast comes ashore, eventually to threaten Amanda and Max. Benchley's writing is fast-paced, and he alternates the tension with poignant family scenes and ample amounts of marine ecology. Literary Guild main selection; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-YAs whose tastes run to monsters and man eaters will enjoy this tale of a Nazi plot gone awry. Near the end of World War II, a German scientist and his bizarre creation are smuggled out of Europe on a submarine. An accident destroys all but the creature in its protective box; the story then fast-forwards to contemporary New England. Simon Chase, marine biologist, is attempting to keep his tiny marine institute solvent, raise his young son alone, and continue his research. He is among the first to notice the effects of an unidentifiable predator in the local waters that consumes humans, sea birds, dolphins, and sharks, leaving evidence of metal teeth and razor-like slashes on its victims. Into this chilling scene comes Dr. Amanda Macy and her trained sea lions to do research on whales. With her financial and technical support, Chase can continue his own work, but the growing threat from the monster forces them to direct their attention toward it. After a series of grisly events, they meet a Jewish survivor of Nazi medical experiments; from him they learn that they are tracking Heinrich Guenther, a half-human, amphibious warrior programmed to be a relentless killing machine. Benchley provides a clever, tense, and explosive ending to this tale of science run amok. Evil is satisfyingly vanquished, and the hero gets his institute and an engaging new partner to boot. An action-filled novel that's perfect for poolside reading.
Carolyn E. Gecan, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County,
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (May 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312965737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312965730
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on May 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up a copy of this book as soon as it hit the shelves. I tore into it ravenously (being a Benchley fan from "Jaws" days), and found myself shaking my head at the unbelievable expectations the author wanted me to believe as the story-line unfolds. To me the whole book read like a great white shark meets a storm trooping Edward Scissorhands or, maybe, Freddie Kruegger.
First of all, the author appears to be reaching deep for any kind of sympathy or group you can hope to pull into a story -- Nazis and those who hate them, reporters and those who hate them, even sharks. Sharks are, by the way, only peripheral characters in this book, maligned and mauled by the main creature/character.
OK, I usually don't tell too much about what's in a book, but I want to save many of you who haven't read this book already. A deranged Nazi scientist develops an amphibious biological based on a human form (an ultimate amphibious warrior) that has metal teeth and claws, a ravenous appetite, and nasty disposition to match.
No one in the book knows what to make of the remains they find scattered along the beach and, later, on shore. Only at the end of a predictable series of events do the "good guys" finally figure out what's up and put and end to the situation.
I worked my way through the book in good order, mostly because I was on vacation at the time and had little else at hand to read. The book is a quick and, compared to JAWS, a shallow read.
I wish I could recommend this book, but I cannot in good conscience do that. I can't imagine who in the world I would feel good recommending it to. It's too bad that not everything out there is a 5-star item.
I gave it a couple of stars primarily because I enjoy stories with a marne setting.
I hope these comments are helpful to you.
Alan Holyoak
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on October 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
WHITE SHARK is perhaps one the best written dead ends in history. Although packed with ideas, some adventure, and many, many ten mile wide close calls, by the end of the book you are literally left wondering what is it you just read. Its pacing and narrative are written like the tides breaking on the shore... it rolls in, it drags out, repeat until end of novel. Every so often the waves bring up something that sparkles, but it never truly shines through. The creature here is a crackjack idea (although a lift from the film SHOCK WAVES), but Benchley spends little or no time with it. And the major players in the book are made from the thickest carboard there is - they hold no surprises, and are so routine that Benchley never breaks a sweat when writing them, because we already know them and know what will happen to them. The hero and herione will get together at the end (they do), the sidekick will pull through (he does), the son will find his first love (he does, a deaf girl with telepathic powers which Benchley mentions once, and then drops, almost like she was going to play a larger part in the story, but Benchley found it too time consuming to continue with), and the monster will die (it does, pretty quickly and easily). Not his best work. For fans, it's worth the read. For those just picking up Benchley, start and stop with JAWS.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S.Watkins on February 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book begins during World War II. There is a doctor trying to escape from Germany. He gets on a submarine and brings a large coffin. On their way out of the country, they get attacked and sin k. In 1996, a photographer goes on a deep-sea dive to take pictures. Before the surface, they see the sunken U-boat. They go over and lift the coffin on to the boat. The man opens the coffin, which lets the creature escape. Simon Chase owns the Osprey Island Marine Institute. On the small island people start getting killed mysteriously. The people on the island realize the importance of killing this creature and intend to do it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi horror novel. It is somewhat gory and scary. It will keep you on your toes. If you liked Peter Benchley's "Jaws" then you will like this. It is a good, thrilling story that you wont want to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All right. We all know the plot--deadly sea-based creature slowly revealed through its carnage as it eats its way into the lives of the intrepid protagonist and his family until fully in view in act three, just before being heroically dispatched. It worked the first time, the second and it even works here fairly well. Suspension of disbelief this time around, however, is snapped in that moment of revelation. Contrary to what EVERYONE has been cluelessly reporting, the creature in question has nothing to do with genetic experiments. Nothing at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. The big DONUT. It's a psychotic killer surgically fitted with claws, teeth and gills. Not in stasis, no, not in some sort of suspended animation--again as has been offered by so many posts around here--not frozen in time, but living blissfully beneath two miles of Atlantic ocean happily dining on shrimp and littering the shells on the ocean floor. For FIFTY YEARS. FIFTY. YEARS. Unaware as to why he is there. Under pressure that would pulverize. Amid lethally cold temperatures. A sexually mutilated 75 year old man surgically slapped together with claws, teeth and gills. This is the creature. This is the killing machine. This is chum. Feed it to the fishes.
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