White Shark

white shark cover peter benchley
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10

Quick vacation type read

Cliche of Benchley's other novels

Book Info

Book Title:  White Shark (Creature)

Publisher:  Random House

Writer:  Peter Benchley

Release Date:  May 17, 1994


Paperback Cover

A Nazi experiment is lost at sea at the end of World War II and lies dormant on the bottom of the ocean for decades.  When the wreckage of the U-Boat that housed it is found, an unknown horror is accidentally released…and it hungers.  Off the coast of Connecticut, Simon Chase is studying sharks and their behavior and adjusting to a visit by his son Max.  When Simon realizes something is amiss in the water, the Nazi’s ultimate weapon will be revealed!

Written by Peter Benchley, White Shark was published by Random House in May of 1994.  The book was met with average reviews and was rereleased as Creature in 1997 to help tie in to a made-for-TV movie released in 1998 starring Craig T. Nelson and Kim Cattrall.

While Jaws was filled with chills and thrills, White Shark is rather lacking.  A quick and easy read, the book is rather harmless but not memorable.  Flat characters, a predictable plot, and a creature that never fully develops leads White Shark to be a bit of a problem.

I will say that Benchley found his niche with Jaws.  You know when picking up a Benchley story, you are probably going to get a New England coast horror story.  White Shark is no different and feels like putting on an old shoe if you are familiar with Benchley’s writing.  All his characters and situations are rather repetitive of his other writing and White Shark lacks that the originality of something like Jaws.


Peter Benchley’s Creature Version

If Benchley created great characters, I could maybe forgive the lack of scares, but the main cast of the novel represents the cast of every one of his novels.  To be blatant, even Jaws characters were written rather generic, but the packaging of the whole story helped.  Benchley owes Spielberg gratitude for cleaning up some of Jaws’ problems, but White Shark doesn’t have that luxury.

The basic concept also raises problems for me.  Benchley generally based his story in science and biology.  Jaws was a large great white shark.  The “beast” was a giant squid that existed on the Earth (but an extreme version).  White Shark is science-fiction.  It isn’t science based and doesn’t have the realism that I did like from the story.  I couldn’t be afraid of the monster because it was fictitious and I’m pretty sure if I go to the beach a genetically engineered humanoid shark isn’t going to eat me.

White Shark is a rather bland book that is a quick read.  If you must read a Benchley book, stick with Jaws.  As it turned out White Shark represented the last of Benchley’s fiction writing.  The author died in 2006 after having a turnabout regarding his role in the persecution of great white sharks…I think this book is more of an offense to them than Jaws.

Related Links:

Jaws by Peter Benchley

Beast by Peter Benchley

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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