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Jaws

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Overview

"Relentless terror." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again — or for the first time!
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Jaws

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Overview

"Relentless terror." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again — or for the first time!
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Benchley's novel, while better known as the source material for Steven Spielberg's classic movie, has earned its own stripes as a small gem of suspense fiction. With another summer fast approaching, audio listeners may be interested in revisiting the town of Amity, Long Island, and getting back in the water. Erik Steele, a theater and film actor, chomps into Benchley's raw prose with appetite, enjoying every bite of gore and social observation. Making ample use of well-placed pauses and silences, Steele amplifies not only the suspense, but Benchley's surprisingly well-honed characterizations. The experience, of course, is markedly different from Spielberg's film, offering shocks less visceral and more contemplative. A Random House hardcover. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
“A tightly written, tautly paced study of terror [that] makes us tingle.”—The Washington Post
 
“Powerful . . . [Benchley’s] story grabs you at once.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Relentless terror . . . You’d better steel yourself for this one. It isn’t a tale for the faint of heart.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Pure engrossment from the very opening . . . a fine story told with style, class, and a splendid feeling for suspense.”—Chicago Sun-Times
Library Journal - BookSmack!
While the movie version of this story dominates, Benchley's tale of a shark that stalks the shores of Amity Island gains new life in the nuanced reading by Erik Steele. While it's a good bet to suggest either the book or the movie to fans of Beck, as both Benchley's novel and Spielberg's film provide similar thrills to Beneath the Dark Ice, try the audio for a new slant. In particular, characters come to life in interesting ways, with voices undercut with fear and dialog delivered in a different rhythm. The pacing, too, is altered just enough to create a new experience. Steele's reading makes this classic beast-tale new again. Fans of Benchley can be pointed to Beast as well because it makes a nice companion to Beck. — Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," Booksmack! 1/6/11
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449219638
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1991
  • Series: Bulls-Eye Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Benchley began his career as a novelist in 1974 with the publication of Jaws, which was made into a hugely successful film. His other books include The Deep, The Island, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez, “Q” Clearance, Rummies, Beast, White Shark, and Shark Trouble. He was also a speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson and a journalist for such magazines as Newsweek and National Geographic. Benchley died in 2006. For more information, please visit www.peterbenchley.com.

Biography

With the 1974 publication of Jaws, the story of a man-, woman-, and child-eating shark that terrorizes a seaside community, Peter Benchley left an indelible imprint on the collective American psyche. Who would ever want to go into the water again?

But there's little the reading public likes better than a good scare (remember Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby? Or how about Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs?), and with Jaws, his first novel, Benchley got all the elements just right: There was a predator; there was plenty of suspense; and, oh yes, plenty of gore, too. The book, a perfect summer beach read, was wildly successful and spent 40 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Benchley admitted that the book had little basis in scientific fact (at the time, almost nobody had any firsthand experience with great whites), but as a former newspaper reporter, he had impeccable instincts for a good yarn. He followed Jaws with two more terrifying deep-sea adventure novels, The Deep and The Island.

In 1982, Benchley published The Girl of the Sea of Cortez, a lovely, idyllic, and notably scare-free novel that received mixed reviews. "This reader yearned for more conflict," wrote a critic for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "more 'and then what happened?' After a few more forays into traditional fiction, the author returned to his forté in bestselling thrillers like Beast, White Shark, and Creature.

Aware in his later years of the fragility of the species, Benchley became a staunch defender of the great white shark, penning several works of nonfiction about these endangered predators and actively advocating for ocean conservation. He died on Feburary 11, 2006, from pulmonary fibrosis, but his legacy continues with the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, given annually for outstanding contributions to shark conservation.

Good To Know

Benchley was a speechwriter for Lyndon Johnson during the first two years of his administration (1967-69).

In 1999, Benchley turned his attention to writing and developing a short-lived syndicated series about plane crash survivors in the jungle, Amazon, starring Carol Alt and C. Thomas Howell.

Benchley's novels have inspired several movies and teleplays, and the author had a hand in some of them -- sometimes as an actor. He was a TV interviewer in Jaws, played bit parts in other films, and appeared onscreen as an interviewee in E!'s True Hollywood Story about the making of Jaws.

Benchley was the grandson of Robert Benchley, the famous humorist and member of the Algonquin Round Table.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      May 8, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      February 12, 2006
    2. Place of Death:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      Phillips Exeter Academy; B.A. in English, Harvard University, 1961

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 182 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(107)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 182 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A classic! I think this book (like the movie) will be around fo

    A classic!

    I think this book (like the movie) will be around forever, it's still terrifying.

    What's interesting to me, being a fan of the movie, is the differences between the two. I won't ruin anything for you, but there is a huge part of the book which never made it into the film (probably for the best). Most fascinating was the difference in the end, including which characters live and the demise of the shark. I assume since Benchley worked on the movie that he approves of both versions. And for what it's worth, so do I. Great book!

    Reading Challenge: I dare you to read this and not hear the John Williams theme in your head!

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    Highly Recommended!!

    If you are a reader that enjoys adventure stories this is the book for you. Jaws is a great story about how the little town of Amity deals with a bloodthirsty great white shark. One thing the author did exceptionally well was that he was very descriptive with the scenarios occurring throughout the novel. My favorite example of the description used is the first couple lines of the novel. Benchley writes, "The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail. The mouth was open just enough to permit a rush of water over the gills. There was little other motion: an occasional correction of the apparently aimless course by the slight raising or lowering of a pectoral fin- as a bird changes direction by dipping one wing and lifting the other. The eyes were sightless in the black, and the other senses transmitted nothing extraordinary to a small, primitive brain.". This quote is shows one of the many ways Benchley uses description to paint a picture for the reader. Another thing the author did well was that he was able to make me as the reader feel what the characters were feeling. One way he particularly did this was through his excessive cursing, which really let the reader know how Officer Brody was feeling! I felt that the author did a great job writing the book, and to me he did nothing that detracted from the content of the book. Having also seen the movie, I enjoyed reading the book much better. The movie leaves out many parts mentioned in the book along with a HUGE side story having to do with Hooper that the movie completely ignores which I felt were a great addition to the story. As a whole and overall I really enjoyed the book as it was an adventure story full of action, terror, and left me wanting more. This book is appropriate for ages 16 and up as it has a lot of foul language and there are a few adult scenes that younger children should not be reading about. My advice to the reader is to sit down in a comfortable chair and start reading this fast-paced novel as you will become completely engulfed in the story of one Amity-summer-filled with terror.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    The Moby Dick of our generation

    I can remember reading this book in 1975 as an 11 year old. I was too young to see the movie at the time so reading the book was my only choice. I re read this book over and over through out the years. This is the book that taught me how to read. The story line is alot different than the movie. I will probable eventually buy the ebook as it has alot of new features. Hard to beleive this book is 38 years old in 2012. I highly recommend this book to anyone 13 and older.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    OH MY GOODNESS! Great book!

    This was some book! The beginning of the book captures you with the first shark attack. The attack was so descriptive that it felt as if i were the shark victim! I had to put my feet on the couch as to protect them from the shark! HA HA The book was very, VERY, different from the movie (except for the first shark attack). I suggest those who've watched to movie read this book! Mrs. Brody is not the goody two shoes they made her out to be in the movie! She has an affair! With whom? You'll have to read the book! ;)~ A must read!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Great

    One of the best books I ever read , totally scared me as a kid , I have the paperback and would love to read it on the nook if it was a bit cheaper :(

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    you are the bait for any great white.

    I read Jaws before I saw the movie. After all these years it still holds water. The description as to the size of the shark was chilling. First there was Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Jaws is the latest sea farin' tale. If you take to the water make sure to check the surface for fins.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    A classic thriller

    Holds up well, even after all these years.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    GREAT!

    Well,I already said it, Great!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Read, watch. Watch, read. Jaws is outstanding

    Love it!!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    Jolie Coates was here!!!!!

    I was here luv books luv this one

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2005

    JAWS!!!!

    Jaws, wow. Jaws is a great and awesome book. There is so much detail. I loved this book. If you do not like blood and dead bodies, back away!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Don't Expect the Movie

    Just finished Jaws while on vacation. While reading it I tried not to compare the book with the movie. First I will say the two are very different. The book is a good read(though I like the movie better). Not only is it about a killer shark, but about the complexities of relationships that the shark's presence in Amity brings out. All the characters are there, Chief Brody, Ellen Brody, Matt Hooper, colorful Quint, etc. If you have seen the movie, start reading this with an open mind and you will likely enjoy it like I did.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Worth a read

    I enjoyed reading this book. When I was younger I never knew there was a book. I just believed that Jaws was just a movie. Now that I have read the book. It gives me a different look on the movie itself. I think I even prefer the book more than the movie.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Jaws

    Amazing. Just amazing. This terrorized me more than the movie! Ahaha, i can understand why actor Robert Shaw didnt care for it. It terrorized him too, he said. I loved this novel and when i first read it, it took me 2 days just to read it. I cant stop! It drags you in and you just cant take your eyes off one word. Best novel I have ever read. <3

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    My review on Jaws

    Jaws is my favorite movie, so I decided to read the book. The book was amazing, the details with the town made the story really interesting. The only part of the story I didn't like was the part about Brody's wife cheating on him with Hooper. The ending seemed slightly far fetched, but this is a very tough one to put down once it gets to the really interesting parts.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I love this book. It scared the heck out of me. I probably shou

    I love this book. It scared the heck out of me. I probably shouldn't have read it while on summer vacation at the lake when I was 13, because I was scared to go swimming that whole week. But, it's still Benchley's best suspenseful read. The only other book of his that I really liked was The Deep, as some of the others just seemed a little too corny for me.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    Amazing

    One of the best books I have ever read. A must read for anybody.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Book vs. Movie

    All I can say is Hollywood has a lot to answer for. Book was much better. Characters are more real;less perfect.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    Only one time i can say this...

    The movie was so much better. While i enjoyed the book...it was nothing compared to the movie.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Poor

    The book starts off really well then goes down hill.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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