Although Meg (Doubleday) is making waves right now, Pushcart Press publisher Bill Henderson tells PW that the "true" shark story will come this September, when he releases In the Slick of the Cricket by Russell Drumm.
The basis for such a boast?
Simply that this book is about the real McCoy, or rather, the real Quint. In the Slick of the Cricket is a nonfiction narrative about the reminiscences of Frank Mundus, the Montauk, Long Island, fisherman who became the inspiration for the character of Quint in Peter Benchley's 1974 novel, Jaws, and who was later immortalized in the film version by actor Robert Shaw. Benchley knew Mundus, had sailed and fished with him aboard Mundus's barge, the Cricket, and Mundus never forgave Benchley for not acknowledging him as the model for Quint -- or for making that character half-cracked.
Enter Drumm, a reporter for the East Hampton Star and an old friend of Mundus's, who began writing his story about Mundus in 1989, shortly before the fisherman's retirement at age 66. The book serves as a testimony to what Mundus is really like, Drumm told PW, as opposed to the slightly mad captain he became in Jaws. "Drumm writes circles around Benchley," Henderson said. "He describes the life of a fisherman in almost Faulknerian terms."
Henderson first spotted In the Slick of the Cricket in 1996, when presentation copies were designed by B. Martin Pedersen, a Montauk resident and founder of the Nautical Quarterly. Henderson told PW that he'll launch the book with a 5000 to 6000-copy first printing.
Drumm is already on to his next project: similarly nautical, although this time, it's the history of a Coast Guard training ship that was in Hitler's navy from 1936 until the end of WWII. Unlike his first go-round with In the Slick of the Cricket, Drumm this time has a publisher lined up: Pushcart, which signed Drumm to a two-book deal.