Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Loch by Steve Alten

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of The Loch by Steve Alten on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

The Loch by Steve AltenSynopsis (from the publisher): Loch Ness holds secrets, ancient and deadly. Does a monster inhabit its depths, or is it just myth? Why, after thousands of reported sightings and dozens of expeditions, is there still no hard evidence? Marine biologist Zachary Wallace knows, but the shock of his near-drowning as a child on Loch Ness has buried all memories of the incident. Now, a near-death experience suffered while on expedition in the Sargasso Sea has caused these long-forgotten memories to re-surface. Haunted by vivid night terrors, stricken by a sudden fear of the water, Zach finds he can no longer function as a scientist. Unable to cope, his career all but over, he stumbles down a path of self-destruction...until he receives contact from his estranged father...a man he has not seen since his parents' divorced and he left Scotland as a boy.

Angus Wallace, a wily Highlander who never worked an honest day in his life, is on trial for murdering his business partner. Only Zachary can prove his innocence - if he is innocent, but to do so means confronting the nightmare that nearly killed him seventeen years earlier.

Review: One of the best aspects of Steve Alten's latest thriller, The Loch, is that he takes a rather preposterous premise and makes it believable.

The blending of factual and fictional material as crafted by Alten for the book is both fascinating and credible. That he is able to seamlessly incorporate all this into an admittedly convoluted plot is all the more astounding. There are several mysteries intertwined here: historical, psychological, physical, and personal. And they are all brought neatly together in a satisfying manner in the final chapters of the book.

Though it is highly unlikely that Alten is planning a series based on Zach Wallace, the central character of The Loch, he should consider it. Zach is an engaging character and there are no doubt many more mysteries of the sea on which he could use his sleuthing abilities.

Special thanks to Blanco & Peace for providing a copy of The Loch for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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