Peter Benchley Beast

ISBN 13: 9780679403555

Beast

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9780679403555: Beast
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"Makes the shark from "Jaws" look like a pet goldfish . . ." USA Weekend
Straight from the cutting edge of science and the logs of ancient mariners comes an immense horror -- a creature that rises up from the well of an ocean gone mad with an insatiable hunger and an endless lust to kill. One man leads a harrowing struggle to defeat the beast amid a threatened Bermuda paradise. His name is Whip Darling, a down-and-out sea dog who doesn't know where he'll get his next meal -- or whether it will get him first.
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From Kirkus Reviews:

At least Benchley (Rummies, 1989, etc.) didn't call it Tentacles--although he might have. Seventeen years after Jaws chewed up the bookracks, he now weaves another ripping sea-monster yarn, this one about an Architeuthis dux, or giant squid, menacing Bermuda. Benchley puts a 90's ecological spin on his story--the squid is on the prowl because its food supply has been diminished by wanton overfishing--but at bottom this is just another Jaws retread, opening, as did Jaws, with a night attack by the monster (here, on a castaway sailing couple) and concluding, as did Jaws, with a daylight frontal assault on a ship and crew determined to destroy it. In between, there's no romantic subplot like the one Spielberg discarded for his film of Jaws; the narrative is full- tilt action adventure, beginning with hero Whip Darling, the 41- year-old Bermudan fisherman who identifies the squid from its traces after it kills a pair of young twin divers, children of Manhattan media magnate Osborn Manning. Knowledge of the squid sends Bermuda tourism--and Darling's business--into a nose dive, but when a vengeance-minded Manning, accompanied by a Canadian squid-expert, tries to hire Darling to help hunt the squid, the Bermudian refuses: better poor than dead. He does agree to guide a submersible party, including a journalist and an obnoxious politico, to the squid's most likely haunt, leading to a terrific scene in which the hungry squid--still not fully revealed--toys with the submarine, then cracks it open to enjoy human-on-the-half- shell. Finally, Manning uses financial blackmail to force Darling to the hunt. The extended conclusion, surpassing Jaws's for excitement, sees the 100-foot squid climbing onto Darling's boat, tentacles and whips flying, eyes glowering, beak chomping, as Manning meets a predictable Ahab-like fate and Darling fights for his life. Although necessarily lacking the shock value of Jaws, this crafty, well-researched, exhilarating semi-sequel, powered by that marvelously demonic squid, who's every bit a match for the Great White, is bound to clamber way high up on the best-seller lists. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, along comes Architeuthis , a giant squid, the eponymous beast of Benchley's latest tale. At an estimated length of anywhere from 30 to 90 feet and armed with two predatory tentacles, a huge, snapping beak and eight writhing arms, each lined with razor-sharp hooks; the giant squid has been wreaking havoc off the coast of Bermuda. By the time the protagonists--Bermuda native Whip Darling and Navy helicopter pilot Marcus Sharp--figure out what sort of beast they're dealing with, Architeuthis has killed five people. As they ponder this carnage, both men remember another scary fish story, Jaws --Marcus recalls "parents refusing to let their children get their feet wet," while Whip proclaims, "Whenever I hear talk about monsters, I think about 'Jaws.' " This monster, unfortunately, is not nearly as scary as the one they remember so vividly, because the reader comes to know it too intimately. Each time the squid prepares to attack its next unwitting victim, we are given an in-depth, close-up view of the beast, usually in a separate chapter. This technique, used sparingly (as it was in Jaws ), can be a heart-stopper, but overindulged, as here, it robs the narrative of dramatic tension. Worse, the author's own references to his more memorable work only serve to emphasize the weaknesses of his newest.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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