Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer
180 pages; $9.99 paperback; ebook $2.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas
When a shark breaks out of a sketchy underwater research facility, the seas surrounding Sharkwater Beach suddenly grow ice-cold as the prehistoric predator begins her reign as “Queen of the Ocean.”
Our protagonist, a sarcastic and rather realistic woman by the name of Jill McCourty, finds herself stranded on Key Water Island, on which Sharkwater Beach resides, along with a small group of friends, strangers, and a particularly interesting trio of rough-around-the-edges men. Together, they must collaborate and fight for their lives against their massive oceanic captor until help arrives, but eventually they come to realize that, even on land, they aren’t safe.
The majority of Sharkwater Beach is spent detailing the sequential deaths of the characters surrounding Jill and explaining their attempted escapes from their killers. This plot, while very simple, was beautifully written with flowing and descriptive terms which made it much easier to swallow and, overall, quite enjoyable. The descriptions of the characters and their backstories made them closer to my heart, thus making the entire situation more tense as they battled the Ocean Queen for their lives. While the story itself seems to move rather quickly, Meyer takes his sweet time building up to a rather large and even more dangerous plot twist. The action was tight, the emotion was vivid, and the shark was large.
The only thing I began to dislike, however, was the constant deaths of the characters. One moment, one of the trio of men would be swimming to shore after being tossed off a ship, only to find himself meeting the Ocean Queen’s jaws. The next, someone on a boat would perish as the entire boat was devoured in one bite. It was done so many times that after long enough, I began to become desensitized and to expect it. Near the end of the story, I truly wanted to feel bad for the characters, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Along with the multitude of deaths, there was gore around every turn, heightened by the flowing and clear descriptive style of the author. This, too, became rather constant throughout the story, and took away from the plot itself in a few cases. These things, however, are nothing more than minor dents in the story’s overall enjoyable nature.
Massive shark is on the loose? People swim for shore. But in Sharkwater Beach, it becomes so much more than that. Cat and mouse becomes a deadly game of hide and seek from an impossible monster who will stop at nothing to feed. Packed with enjoyable, intense action, humorous if not realistic dialogue, unique plot development, and, of course, sharks, Sharkwater Beach is a must-read for any horror fan with a fear of the ocean. Just don’t worry about why the water is red.