“The Loch” by Steve Alten Review


The Loch

Author:  Steve Alten

Released:  2005

For the most part I quite enjoyed Steve Alten’s other book about a giant underwater man eating creature, aka The Loch. Instead of giant prehistoric sharks, this time around we’re in the famous Loch Ness of Scotland, searching for a creature that for centuries has been spotted but has never exactly been linked to eating people. Until now!

Ok, the whole thing is ridiculous. Zachary Wallace is a hotshot marine biologist and descendant of William “Braveheart” Wallace, on the fast track to fame after inventing an underwater sonic lure to attract giant squids. While filming a special under water, his vehicle is attacked by what appear to be giant eels and he narrowly avoids dying. Afterward, he develops a phobia of the water and quick spirals into a depression as he loses everything around him. When he’s at rock bottom, he gets a message to come back to Scotland where his jerk of a dad (with a physical description matching Sean Connery) is being charged with murder and needs his son to come back to help clear his name.

How can his marine biologist son clear his name? Well, the murder that’s charged is because his father Angus punched a land developer in the mouth, knocking him into Loch Ness where he was never found. Angus needs Zachary to prove that it was actually the Loch Ness Monster who at the land developer so his father doesn’t get the death penalty. Zachary is reluctant to help, however he gets more and more involved, particularly after meeting a young lady that looks like a super model who gives boat tours on Loch Ness and who is really interesting in having sex with Zachary.

The whole plot is ridiculous, which is pretty much what I look for in a book like this. There were plenty of people eaten by sea creatures in this book, which is also groovy. On top of all that, there were also several Wikipedia like chapters where Alten describes the entire history of Scotland, the development of under water diving uniforms, and first hand accounts of people that have seen Nessie that felt a lot like page filler that I actually enjoyed reading. As much as I enjoyed most of this book though I can’t quite find it in me to give it four stars, and that’s mainly due to the how it all wraps up.

For starters, Zach’s relationship with Brandy (the sexy boat tour guide) is pretty poorly written, even for this sort of story. Zach is professing his love to her pretty much instantly, with no real connection between the two of them besides how good she looks in a wet suit. Zach’s final plan on dealing with Nessie seems to be contradicted completely by what they end up doing, and all of the risk at the end could have been completed in a safer manner with any bit of planning. The problem is that when the book sets up a character who uses smarts and logic, and then has him throw it all away for seemingly no reason, the whole ending doesn’t ring true for the book.

Overall a fun read, but one that doesn’t stick the landing.

3 star

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