cover image Meg: Nightstalkers

Meg: Nightstalkers

Steve Alten. Tor, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8796-7

Alten’s fifth Meg novel (after 2009’s Meg: Hell’s Aquarium) demonstrates the limits of centering a series on surviving prehistoric sharks devouring human victims, the first of whom is chomped in half while kayaking in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off British Columbia. The culprit is a Carcharodon megalodon, a gigantic ancestor of the great white shark, and one of a pair named Bela and Lizzy, who were freed from an aquarium by animal rights activists. But Bela and Lizzy aren’t the only underwater threats to humanity. Alten tosses in a menagerie of monstrous relics, including a ferocious sperm whale and multiple dinosaur-era aquatic reptiles. One creature, a liopleurodon, has eaten the love interest of one of the main characters, David Taylor, whose quest for revenge is aided by an attractive female marine biologist who was once a professional dancer. Alten continues to be less than careful about scientific details (centipedes aren’t insects) and usage (the liopleurodon at one point sweeps prey into its “vacuous gullet”). Still, Jaws fans will have fun. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (June)