Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: 'The Deadly Deep' by Jon Messmann


3 / 5 Stars


‘The Deadly Deep’ is a Signet paperback (222 pp.) published in 1976; the cover artist is uncredited.
‘Deadly Deep’ is clearly marketed to the readership of ‘Jaws’, the definitive mid-70s aquatic thriller. It also trades on the popularity in the 70s of eco-horror themes, such as those presented in the movies ‘Frogs’ (amphibians run amuck,1972), ‘Squirm’ (clam-worms run amuck, 1975), and ‘Prophecy’ (mutant bears run amuck, 1979). 
For ‘Deadly Deep’,  it’s every organism in the oceans declaring war on mankind.

Things start with an attack by a blue whale on a charter fishing boat, followed by some lobsters taking revenge on a Maine lobsterman, and then some sea bass coming in to shallow water at the Delaware beaches to bite some chunks from unwary swimmers.
Young and rugged science journalist Aran Holder finds himself investigating these strange events at the behest of Wildlife and Fisheries administrator Emerson Boardman. To the increasing unease of Holder and Boardman, further attacks take place; the body count starts to climb upward; and it becomes clear that something unprecedented is taking place on Planet Earth.
But there are worse things yet to come….because the malevolent Intelligence behind the onslaught has something more elaborate in mind than simple attacks on bathers and boaters. Can Aran Holder find out the cause of the revolt of the sea creatures before civilization itself faces extinction  ?
If you’re looking for an entertaining eco-horror novel, ‘Deadly Deep’ fits the bill. Author Jon Messmann knows that he’s been commissioned to craft a Beach Read rather than a work of Literature,  and he delivers the goods with a fast-moving narrative that never stops too long to dwell on how far-fetched the premise powering the plot . Some tried and true 70s fiction tropes are in place in 'Deadly Deep', including the psychotic military leader who believes force is the only answer; portentous philosophical musings on Man's Abuse of the Environment; and lubricious 70s chicks in bikinis, tight pants, and halter tops.
If you're looking for an enjoyable eco-horror novel with full, satisfying 70s flavor, than 'Deadly Deep' is worth investigating.

1 comment:

Will Errickson said...

Show me a person who DOESN'T enjoy that "full, satisfying 70s flavor" and I'll show you someone who hates life.