Sarah Maddaford's Reviews > The Loch

The Loch by Steve Alten
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Mar 09, 2010

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bookshelves: creatures, historical, modern, political, thriller, temple
Read from March 06 to 09, 2010

This story fits the Thriller genre, specifically the Scientific Thriller genre very well. The biology behind the creature shows detailed research and possibly consultation with biologists and cryptozoologists. The pacing could have been a little faster and more exciting. The author provided a lot of Nessie sightings and evolution tidbits that broke up the flow of the story. Fortunately, the effect of the first person narration makes up for some of the pacing issues. The reader learns everything as Zack does with very few exceptions. The story does have some small branches, mostly to show how several of the people died from their point of view. Figuring out who to trust as well as what exactly is wrong with the Loch that has changed the creature’s behavior is much easier and more interesting by following Zack’s expert point of view. Zack’s life, body and reputation are at risk through most of the novel and his fears as well as his scientific mind hinder him in deciding who to trust.

First off, I want to say that I liked it and it kept me interested, but it wasn’t quite a page-turner. Any possible cliff hangers were broken up by the witness accounts. Some of them were interesting and I think the author purposely avoided the more crackpot sounding ones, but they did divert from the story. I was slightly annoyed by the sections of Adam Wallace’s journal because, in addition to a Scottish dialect that took a while to get used to, the font is hard to read. I would recommend this book to someone who enjoyed his other books like Meg or Crichton’s Jurassic Park. I would be more cautious about suggesting it to a general thriller reader because of the pacing.

A Sci-Fi reader might enjoy this because it does feature a creature that evades technology designed to search its habitat. It may not contain enough other elements for many Sci-Fi readers though. I think anyone with an interest in the paranormal, cryptozoology, or the Loch Ness Monster would enjoy this book because it does feature a search for clues about an undiscovered creature. The romance is barely there so I wouldn’t recommend it to a romance reader. Also, I think most gentle readers would be appalled by the amount of gore, talk of sex and some of the things that father and son say to each other. I wasn’t too shocked by it because I remember reading Meg, but I was actually surprised at the low level of curses flung between Zack and Angus especially with the meanness of their words.
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