Jaws by Peter Benchley is everything that you want from a thriller; it's fast, it's gory and very tense - a great read for a relaxing day at the beach!
You've all seen the movie, now it is time to read Jaws the book. When a killer great white shark makes the waters around Amity it's home, it is up to the local Sheriff, a marine scientist and a fisherman to save the town from the menace lurking in their waters.
This book has everything. Giant man-eating under water creatures. Mangled bodies. Local politics. Love affairs. Suburban family woes. Not to mention action and spine-tingling tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Benchley created a great cast of characters in Jaws, the highlight being that of Quint, the fisherman hired by Chief Brody to kill the shark that is terrorising the beach side town. He is thoroughly unsympathetic (as are most of the characters) as a character and yet you cannot help but admire the way he approaches life in his very direct manner.
The best thing about Jaws, and where I felt that it differed most from the movie, was the way in which Benchley portrayed the great white shark. In the movie, it felt as thought the shark was this malicious creature, deliberately out to destroy the men and their boat.
In the book, however, Benchley has portrayed this shark as an ancient and magnificent creature of the sea, without any malicious intent. Instead, it is clearly a creature driven by instinct, that instinct being an instinct to kill.
I purchased this book while I was staying in Fremantle, a beach side town in Western Australia. I loved the feel of lying near the beach (in the shade of course, I am a very pale person!) and listening to the sounds of the ocean whilst reading about a similar sea side town being terrorised by a killer shark. Perhaps that sounds strange, but it meant that I could really get into the mood of Jaws, as I am sure Peter Benchley would have wanted.
This isn't a great work of literary fiction by any means, but it is a fabulous book for those times whenyou need something quick and exciting. It will be a great book to re-read and I highly recommend it.