Thresher: A Deep Sea Thriller by Michael Cole (2018)

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Leonard Riker is the big city cop who has recently transferred to a small coastal town with a chip on his shoulder and raging alcoholism. Allison Metzler is the rookie cop with political connections and a heart of gold. These two must put aside their differences to save the coastal community and its influx of tourists from a giant thresher shark.

I struggled with Thresher for the first two thirds of it and contemplated on more than one occasion putting it down, never to be attempted again. During this, the two main characters were unlikeable for different reasons, the plot moved slowly and the writing slowed it down further with repetitive information, telling rather than showing and convoluted sentences.

Things did improve as the end drew near but it was too little too late and, while many of the flaws from earlier in the novel abated, there was still far too much telling rather than showing. Even down to the fact that we are given detailed accounts of the shark’s thoughts. Most of which could be summed up into “this is a threat or food, I’ma go bite it”. There’s something to be learned from how little of the shark we see in Jaws that should be applied to books like Thresher.

I’m all for flawed characters, but it’s difficult to find anything likeable or sympathetic about a character who is made out to be a cruel, drunken bully no matter how much their tragic past is then shoved down your throat. While that character may then redeem themselves later, the reader is still left with distaste over the way they have acted. That was my experience with Thresher’s leading male.

If a monster novel is going to be a written version of a b-grade monster movie and lack technical strength, it should be outlandish and ridiculously enjoyable. Unfortunately, Thresher didn’t pull this off either and seemed to take itself far too seriously for the end result.

With some tighter editing and steadier character development, Thresher could have been an enjoyable shark thriller with a new take on the genre. As it stands though, the pace is more whale shark than thresher shark and lacks bite just as much.



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