Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea.
Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong. Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red. The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.
Brad is a marine biologist and expert in Chimaera fish who has been spending too much time drinking and wallowing in his own self pity. He is in Florida when he gets a call about the discovery of a strange fish that was hauled out of the sea. A six foot fish has badly injured a boat hand with a lethal sting and he is asked for his expert opinion on it. The fish intrigues him and he is happy to study it...but when news of a fishing boat crew almost being wiped out by the fish reaches him, he knows they have a problem.
Suzanne is Brad's ex-wife and she is on a research vessel in the area. She discovers using underwater footage that these fish are coming through vents of melted methane in droves, due to climate change. She reluctantly sends photos of them to Brad just as a shoal of chimaera fish start to attack her boat...and several others out off the coast. The fish are intelligent, hungry and deadly, attacking everything in their path but can they be stopped? Brad knows the danger that Suzanne could be in so he hires a boat to go out and find her...putting his own crew in danger too...
I liked the use of these chimaera fish as the monsters in the deep because they are different from the usual. Referred to as Ghost Sharks, they are huge and agile with the ability to leap onto boats. The fact that they are six feet long means if one lands on you, you become a human pancake. You really don't want to be hit by its sting as that will bring about a slow and very painful death too. If you thought being on a boat meant you were safe from sea monsters, this book and others like it will make you think again! These things swim in huge packs/shoals...imagine a hundred of these monsters around your flimsy wooden boat? Pretty scary.
Needless to say, the death toll in this book is very high, which you expect and want in this kind of creature feature book. Fishing boats and small pleasure vessels have no chance against the monsters and as thousands of the things pour into the sea from these vents, anything in their path is going to be in trouble, even things like the Coastguard. As the book progresses, it becomes one big attack scene that is very tense and exciting to read.
I found myself not greatly liking Brad though. The washed up drunk character never greatly appeals to me as I find it hard to have sympathy when they whine about everything but make no effort to change things. Brad does whine a lot and drink a lot, and I felt like giving him a slap and reminding him that other people have problems worse than his. The wise ass persona does grate on me a bit. Thankfully I liked Suzanne but failed to see why she would ever be interested in going back to him. It was pretty puzzling. A smart and intelligent woman like her could do way better for herself. The relief is that Brad does pull himself together when the fish danger erupts around him and becomes easier to like. However the best character is without a doubt Nestor. He starts off as a sort of chauffeur who has contacts that allow Brad to get more involved in the investigation. Nestor quickly moves from sidekick to friend, who ends up along for a very dangerous ride. He was the one I was really worried about.
Overall I liked this book. The author does a really good job of bringing a strange sea creature to life as a deadly predator. If you like the monster films on the SF channel then you know the kind of blood and teeth plot that you will get in these books, and you'll probably have several hours of fun with this. It is a good mixture of death and terror and the plot really speeds up as the book develops. Nobody is safe when these fish decide they are hungry...
Read August 2017.