Grimshaw’s first outing as an author tells the factually based fish story of a great white shark who winds up trapped by a fisherman’s harpoon, and the resulting standoff of man versus nature.
Told from the shark’s point of view, Grimshaw’s story focuses on Ward, a 27-foot-long great white shark traveling with his family along the coast of Long Island. While feeding on tuna, Ward becomes careless, running into the Floodtide, a charter boat on a shark hunting mission. The Floodtide manages to spear Ward, who, though strong, knows that his death is certain unless he can escape the boat to which he’s tethered. Calling on his wife and child for help, Ward must race against time to outwit the ship’s captain as the fishermen close in. And when things get desperate, he turns to his friend Michale, a swordfish who knows a lot about humans, to get him out of the mess. As a pilot in the Montauk, N.Y., area, Grimshaw certainly knows the world he’s writing about. His enthusiasm for the subject matter comes through in his descriptions of the shark’s world as well as of fishing culture. Grimshaw attempts to humanize the lives of fish as a way to share facts without getting too textbook-like in his approach, with mixed results. At times the details he focuses on are to the detriment of the narrative flow. More focus on the characters’ relationships to each other and less on the longitude and latitude of every location would help draw the reader in. Additionally, although the book is touted as “a true story” (and research shows there was certainly a massive shark that was almost hooked in the mid-’70s), even the least critical reader would be hard-pressed to call the ending sequence believable. Regardless of the liberties taken, the book is good for younger readers with an interest in predators and the natural world.
A fun piece of New York history told in an unusual way.