Saturday, December 10, 2016

Nessie attacks!

Loch Ness Revenge

 By Hunter Shea


Publisher:  Severed Press

Pub Date: November 1, 2016

Rating: 3 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Natalie, her twin brother Austin and her parents were vacationing at Loch Ness, Scotland 20 years ago. One night while camping and roasting marshmallows, Natalie and Austin heard a splash of water followed by screams. When they arrived at the shore, they see a creature in the water killing her parents. Forward wind to the present. Natalie is now camped out on that very shore trying to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.

And kill it.

OK. Now that kind of bugged me right there. I grew up on stories of Nessie. The Loch Ness Monster for all intent and purpose is Scotland's mascot. The only death ever blamed on Nessie was in 1952 when a water ripple from the big oaf was said to called a speedboat crash. Nessie didn't stick around to swap insurances. Nessie must be the most beloved figure of monster lore on the planet. So the idea of the water seprent as a vicious man-eater took a little work to sink in.

Fortunately, Hunter Shea is a bit of an expert on monsters. They seem to be his specialty with at least his last two books taking on other known legends of crypto-zoology. The challenge in Loch Ness Revenge is to set up his future monster killer with a past that lets us in on her suffering and obsession. If you are going to kill a beloved icon, you better have a good reason. But this is a short novella that means we need to get to the chase quickly. So once the protagonist is set, we are introduced to her twin brother and a couple of colorful sidekicks and we're off!

Then there is the monster. Shea has its own version of the Loch Ness Monster. We are given glimpses of it as Natalie seeks it out and the author reveals more as the hunt escalates. As the novel proceeds, we get a few surprises and lots of action right to the final showdown.

So how does the whole thing work? It is not nearly as complex as Shea's previous novels which makes sense because it is much shorter at less than 150 pages. There may be a few too many incidents that seem to be borrowed from Jaws. However it works because it is fun. If it doesn't stretch your mind, that's OK. It is an amusing read with enough thrills to keep the reader satisfied. And I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the scary creature that Mr. Shea has conjured up from his mind. I am sure that Nessie is simply a sweet, if huge, eel-like critter that loves to float on the lake and wake at the tourists. We all must have our fantasies.


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