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Hells AquarSometimes a girl just needs the good old-fashioned mayhem that only prehistoric biologicals on a rampage can provide. This is the fourth of Steve Alten’s Meg books and the action is centered in and around the Tanaka Oceanographic Institute and Lagoon where Angel, a captured Megalodon shark, is resident with her pups, the new Dubai Mall Aquarium, and the deep ocean environment where several new yet more ancient playmates reside. Jonas Taylor and his family are again faced with multiple crises on several fronts, their expertise with prehistoric sharks now being exploited by the ambitious and unsavory Saudi Arabian businessman Fiesal bin Rashidi. His only concern is to populate the new aquarium in Dubai with the world’s rarest (though as yet undiscovered) specimens. It is his deepest desire that the Taylors find the specimens for him using the skills and techniques they’ve perfected with Angel and that, even as the Saudi Arabian collection grows, there will be a concomitant decrease in the number of Taylors as a result.

Once again, Jonas Taylor demonstrates his McGyvery mettle and his son, David, now twenty-years-old and an expert in his own right, is tested professionally and personally in ways his father never imagined. From the Monterey coast to Saudi Arabia to beneath the Philippine Sea, there is constant and surprising peril. Alten’s imagination has created another wondrous and violent world filled with nightmare creatures brought to startling life in the complete darkness of the ocean depths by the lights of exploratory craft. The initial excitement of scientific discovery is quickly supplanted by a fight for simple survival, complicated in turn by bin Rashidi’s pursuit of commercial gain regardless of the financial and human cost. The Taylors are caught between several antagonists; they must use all their mental and physical resources if they hope to avoid the wickedly gruesome ends that claim so many others. Thanks, Steve, I needed that.

For more information about Steve Alten and his newest projects, check out his website. Fans of this dynamic author will be interested to read more about his fight with Parkinson’s Disease, and his efforts to facilitate a cure, on Variance Publishing’s ThrillerBlog.