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Move over Jaws, there's a new superpredator on the rise

It's still not safe to enter the water...
It's still not safe to enter the water...
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 1974, Peter Benchley frightened droves of beach goers and divers out of the water with one larger-than-life great white shark. Now, 40 years later, newcomer Max Hawthorne presents us with an entirely new breed of deep sea denizen . . . one that makes Jaws look like an overgrown goldfish. Behold, Kronos Rising!

This past spring has seen the rebirth of Godzilla as he stormed his way back into theaters. Next summer, Universal Studios plans to unveil its latest entry in the blockbusting Jurassic Park franchise--Jurassic World! Throw in recent releases like Cloverfield and Pacific Rim, alongside novels like Steve Alten's Meg series, and it seems that the kaiju (basically prehistoric giant monsters) genre is far from extinct.

Hawthorne definitely demonstrates this as he unleashes an inconceivable threat that time forgot onto an unsuspecting modern world. Written in the same vein as Jaws and Meg, Kronos Rising takes every Loch Ness Monster myth and sea monster rumor up to eleven and beyond. His story deals with a fictional Florida fishing town that suddenly finds itself under siege from a creature out of time’s abyss. Identified as a surviving specimen of pliosaur, the predator wreaks havoc of primeval proportions as it lays waste to the docking marina and the fishing piers that are the town’s lifeblood, snacking on more than a handful of unlucky boaters, fishermen, and later, monster hunters along the way.

What truly makes this story hit home on an intrinsic level is the treatment Hawthorne endows his creature. He presents it as more than just a mindless eating machine. It is one of the greatest super predators in Earth’s history, able to engulf a T-rex, or a great white shark without breaking a sweat. At the same time, it’s a cold, calculating, almost sentient entity. Hawthorne doesn’t personify his creature, but he does a great job of presenting certain events from its point of view. Readers can almost imagine it plotting its next attack, figuring out how best to tackle its prey, human and otherwise. It adds a sense of urgency to the story.

This treatment extends to Hawthorne’s characters as well. From Jake Braddock, a sheriff with a troubled history, to Dr. Amara Takagi, a marine biologist crusading to defend all sea creatures from man’s folly, to the domineering and sociopathic Karl von Freiling, a mercenary animal collector with a surprising connection to Amara. In addition to deciding how to deal with the primordial threat in their midst, each character brings a backstory and their own demons who they must confront, raising the tension exponentially.

Kronos Rising is no mere, everyday horror story; it is a tale that balances and combines every possible literary conflict without missing a beat or losing its purpose. And that purpose is to scare the living hell out of its readers. Be warned. Jaws made readers afraid to venture into the ocean; Kronos Rising will make them never want to go near a pool, bathtub, or spa ever again.