Daaah-dum. Daaah-dum. Dah-dum, dah-dum, dah-dum. It’s been 20-odd summers since we first shrieked with glee at the sight of that marauding fin. Enough time has passed for sharks to start stalking our shores anew…or so figure the two publishers that have trotted out new, camera-ready thrillers about these primordial sea creatures. What with the dinos and all — not to mention a jaded, post-Discovery Channel audience — they’re looking at a much tougher climate than when our beloved Jaws made its splashy 1974 print debut. But hey, it’s hot out. Books like this are meant to be swallowed whole. Question is, do they have a prayer of measuring up to the still-in-stores, surprisingly deep original? Take in the following sound bites.
THE PROMISE: ”Nature’s most fearsome predator…fears nothing…attacks anything…devours everything”
THE PREMISE: Swingin’, loose-moraled preppies watch in horror as the Hamptonsesque Amity coast is menaced by the 25-foot Carcharodon carcharias (great white shark)
THE AVENGERS: Brave, queasy cop Martin Brody, idealistic marine biologist Matthew Hooper, salty old charter-boat captain Quint
BODY COUNT: Six — in retrospect, quite civilized
SEA LEGS: Steven Spielberg’s career-launching movie, though a classic in its own right, didn’t do justice to the novel’s incisive characterizations and secondary story lines (class conflict, the Mob). Good to the last chomp. A