In memory of Peter Benchley
On the heels of Jaws, he would go on to write several other novels over the next few decades with a variety of themes an stories. The Deep was about a honeymooning couple in Bermuda who fear for their lives after uncovering a lost drug cache in a shipwreck. The Island followed an investigative journalist as he discovered a remnant band of buccaneers in the Caribbean who had been behind a string of disappearances. The Girl of the Sea of Cortez provided an endearing coming of age story about a young woman’s relationship with her father and the ocean. Drawing from his experiences working in the White House, he wrote Cold War satire Q Clearance. His next book Rummies was about an alcoholic in rehab who encounters things there far more dangerous to his well-being then liqueur. His next two books returned to the same man-vs-monster formula set up by Jaws which made him famous, with Beast telling the tale of a giant squid terrorizing Bermuda, and White Shark where a new breed of creature terrorizes a Connecticut community. Yet if there is one thing each of his books had in common, it’s that they always provided a deeply entertaining and satisfying story that kept you glued to your seat, with the same blend of wit and thrills that endeared his work to me in the first place.
My own experience with his work began when I was a young boy when I first read Jaws, having just watched the movie. I was hooked from the first five pages, and rapidly finished the book and repeated the process with each of his other works. Over the many years since then, I have reread each of them several times, and he remains a favorite author of mine to read. The few other people I know who have read his work all have had similar experiences, enjoying Benchley’s natural ability to spin a good tale.
While we may have to wait a few more years before we can fully see the legacy of his work, in my humble opinion Peter Benchley is certainly one of the better authors of the modern era. So if any of you reading this are in the mood for a good page turner, please pick up one of Peter Benchley’s books and dive into the work of one of the most enjoyable authors I’ve ever read. You will not be disappointed.