One Pissed Off Shark by Zack Scott

four stars

one-pissedZack Scott’s One Pissed Off Shark starts with a description of the main characters, “seven friends in their late teens and early twenties. Seven very stereotypical friends.” This group consists of An athlete, his girlfriend, his smart (black) best friend, the fat friend, the “hopeless romantic”/”chronic masturbator”, the sexy, promiscuous girl, and a prudish hipster. After this, the events of the book are further foreshadowed when the reader sees two brothers out kayaking, when one is attacked and killed by the shark. Next, the seven friends set out to go SNUBA diving (a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving). Drinking, hook-ups, and more shark attacks ensue. Meanwhile, the mother of the first two boys that were attacked hires a private investigator to find and kill the shark. The PI acquires the help of her marine biologist ex and a drunken self-declared shark hunter. Who will survive the ordeal?

This shark attack, comedy-thriller attempts to poke fun at common horror film tropes, toying with expectations, while still playing into them. For instance, it employs a “pre-scare” which one character recognizes and labels as such. However, the humor isn’t for everyone, and while the book is clearly meant to be sarcastic, it doesn’t do anything particularly interesting or clever with the cliches it plays with (our final girl is one of the first to die, but this leaves us with almost no one interesting or likable to follow for the remainder of the novel’s pages). The book has a light, sarcastic tone which mostly works, although some jokes fell flat. The author employs a shifty point of view that didn’t always make sense, but demonstrates a good mastery of creating suspense and portraying action and the book is a well-paced, engaging, quick read. There are also some unnecessary racial jokes, ableism, and casual misogyny. Jaws with a touch of irony, you’ll dive right into this book and think twice before diving into the water.

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