Sunday, January 4, 2009

Book Review - THE LOCH by Steve Alten

The Loch by Steve Alten
2005, 487pgs

Maybe it was the locale of the Clive Cussler book that I disliked. This book wasn't written any better, and didn't really explode with brilliant ideas or anything, but there was something about it that grabbed me more. I should make it a point to re-read Sahara in the summer time - on a beach, or something. The plot of The Loch was almost custom made for late night winter reading. Zachary Wallace is a brilliant marine biologist that grew up on Loch Ness before moving to America where he became a renowned scientist with a focus on large underwater animals, like the giant squid, during the search for which he nearly dies. He had an uncaring slightly abusive relationship with his father, and until his half brother shows up to tell him that his pa is on trial for murder, hadn't spoken to his father in decades. Naturally, he feels obligated to return to Loch Ness for his father's trial, a place with a lot of ghosts, an old friend, an old crush, a mysterious body of water where he almost drowned as well, and a manipulative father who may have more ulterior motives than anything else.

Of course, this being a book by the author of Meg, a tale of a giant killer shark ( I think - I haven't read Meg) Nessie makes an appearance too, and begins craving flesh... human flesh! OooOoooOooh! Obviously, this is a book where it's better not to stress the details and go along for the ride. The characters are all pretty realistic and the atmosphere of the Loch and area is great. It really made me want to take a trip. Alten also does a pretty thorough job of making his Scottish characters speak in spelled out Scottish Brogue, and while it takes a bit of getting used to, eventually their dialogue sounded pretty good to me. (Saying their lines out loud was fun too, much to my dogs amusement.) While the ending is never really in question, and some of the characters are a little one sided, I enjoyed reading The Loch. Alten liberally sprinkles actual quotes of Nessie sightings and snippets from an old diary into the story, and those, combined with the descriptions of the settings made it a great read that moved at a quick pace. My only real complaints about the book; The love interest seemed a little too opportunistic and over the top "slutty", it seemed like there should have been a bit more interaction with the half brother, and the book was kind of heavy in hardback - made my wrist hurt. I could probably ask for more realistic action thriller about Loch Ness, but if it existed, I probably wouldn't like it as well!


Now Reading - Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown


Steve at Random said...

My goodness, it seems you devour books. Are you a speed reader?

Kristopher & Crew said...

No, not a speed reader, though I do read quickly... I read for about and hour a day, three if I'm lucky and my dogs and wife don't distract me!

Steve at Random said...

I'm not a speed reader either...although I took the Evelyn Woods class years ago. I read for my enjoyment and the love of words to tell a story. However, it would take me a month and a half to read a 500 page book. I do admire you for reading. I think it was Lincoln who said the only sorrier than now being able to read is not reading when you have the ability to do so. There's so many great stories out there. I also like movies...but I have to be in the right mood to really enjoy them.