Books Like Jaws
The Peter Benchley novel, Jaws, was published in 1974 and his tale of a great white shark that terrorizes a small resort town quickly became a bestseller. While reviews from critics were mixed, readers couldn't get enough of the shark and millions of copies were sold. The Steven Spielberg film release that followed the book also did exceptionally well and started the trend of summer blockbusters. In fact, it was only when Star Wars was released that the Jaws movie lost its title of highest-grossing film ever. Benchley wrote a few more novels, but only one was about a shark, albeit a genetically engineered human/shark hybrid. Benchley eventually turned to non-fiction and wrote about topics such as the conservation of sharks. However, if you are a fan of his shark thriller and want to read more books about humans having to deal with giant sea creatures, then here a few more books like Jaws.
by Steve Alten
Meg by Steve Alten is the story of Dr. Jonas Taylor, a Nave deep-sea submersible pilot turned marine paleontologist. His career in the Navy came to an end when Taylor encountered a Megalodon shark during a dive and causes the death of some crew mates while escaping from it. Since the Navy covered up his discovery and branded him as crazy for his claims Taylor become obsessed with proving the existence of the Megalodon. His chance finally comes when he is approached by a marine biologist who is in need of retrieving a remote submarine that became lost in the Mariana Trench. It is here that Taylor encounters not just one Megalodon, but a whole family of them. Meg features the same type of giant shark action interspersed with human drama as Jaw and, while it took many years, also received a blockbuster film adaptation. Even better, the novel has been successful enough to turn into an entire series, so there are plenty of MEG novels to read if you become hooked.
by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
As enjoyable as Jaws was, its depiction of the giant man-eating shark wasn't exactly realistic. The same can be said of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters. For his story, Winters used the Jane Austen classic as his inspiration, but combined it with sea monsters that are rising up against mankind. This means that the Regency era characters have to deal with man-eating jellyfish, massive lobsters and giant sea serpents in addition to their everyday problems. In Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, the three Dashwood sisters had to leave their estate, along with their widowed mother, after the death of their father. The women rent a modest home on the property of one of their relatives and all manner of romance, love and drama ensues. In the Winters novel, it is a hammerhead shark that devours Mr. Dashwood, after which Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters have to move to a mysterious island where savage sea creature attacks are common. If your favorite parts of Jaws were the nail biting encounters with the bloodthirsty shark, then the violent sea creatures of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters will be right up your alley.
by Herman Melville
Instead of the giant shark attacking beach goers in Jaws, it is a giant whale that attacks ships in Moby Dick, the 1851 novel by Herman Melville. Both novels also feature a captain that is obsessed with hunting down a giant sea creature. In the case of Moby Dick, it is captain Ahab, who is on a quest for revenge after the white whale known as Moby Dick devoured his leg. Like Jaws, Moby Dick is not only massive, but also very intelligent and bloodthirsty, which makes it a formidable adversary for Ahab and his crew. Both books also share an epic final showdown with their respective sea monsters, which makes for a thrilling read.
by Jules Verne
20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea is an 1870 novel by Jules Verne about a mysterious sea monster that terrorized shipping lanes. Some people believe that it is a giant narwhal and an expedition is assembled by the United States government to track down and kill the creature. Of course, unlike Jaws, the giant sea creature doesn't turn out to be what anyone expects, but the book still features plenty of nautical thrills, including a battle against giant quid. The Jaws and 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea film adaptations also share an interesting connection. Bob Mattery, who created the giant squid for the 20, 000 Leagues film was also in charge of supervising the fabrication of the prop sharks that were used in Jaws.
by Peter Tonkin
Readers who couldn't get enough of the man versus shark action of Jaws will also enjoy the 1979 novel by Peter Tonkin, called Killer. It is about the survivors of a plane crash who finds themselves marooned on an ice floe with limited supplies. However, it is not just the elements that the group faces, but also a pack of killer whales. Unfortunately for the survivors, the leader of this pack of killer whales is no ordinary creature either. Weighing several tons and measuring almost 40 feet long, it is a killer whale that has been secretly trained by the government to attack people and ships before it escaped back to the wild. Library Journal described Killer as having all of the "excitement and violent drama of Jaws" which makes it worth tracking down if you are a fan.
by D. Cheatham
One of the reasons why critics had mixed feelings about Jaws is because the action with the giant shark often took a backseat to all kinds of other side stories with the human characters. However, if you enjoyed these elements of Jaws, then Rip Tide, the 1984 novel by D. Cheatham, will also be very enjoyable. Instead of a great white shark, it is a giant Tiger shark that terrorizes the coast of Florida in this book. While the shark attacks take up the majority of the book, there is also record-breaking hurricane on the way for the characters to deal with. Like Jaws, Rip Tide is definitely not a story for the young or the faint of heart.