cover image Whalefall


Daniel Kraus. MTV, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-66591-816-9

This gripping sci-fi thriller from bestseller Kraus (who previously coauthored the novelization of The Shape of Water with Guillermo del Torro) takes readers quite literally into the belly of the beast. After local diving legend Mitt Gardiner dies in a suicide by drowning, his estranged high school–age son, Jay, sets out to bolster his own reputation as a diver by retrieving his father’s remains. Returning to the water after two years away from his domineering dad, Jay makes the risky dive. Instead of locating the body, however, he finds a giant squid, and then a massive sperm whale finds them both. Accidentally ingested, Jay struggles to escape the whale’s belly before the creature either digests him or retreats to depths that could crush him. Jay’s struggle to free himself from his blubbery prison mirrors his struggle to free himself from his father’s shadow, which forms the real heart of the story. Kraus provides solid nautical science alongside the stretchy coincidences that fuel Jay’s survival. Just on the brink of horror fiction, especially for the claustrophobic, this deep-sea thrill ride will have readers on the edges of their seats. (Aug.)