Natural Selection

( 40 )

Overview

A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter. Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen A mystery. A chase. A vast expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the ...
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Natural Selection: A Novel

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Overview

A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter. Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen A mystery. A chase. A vast expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, they engage a host of fascinating characters. The world's premier neurology expert. A specialist on animal teeth. Flight simulation wizards, evolution historians, deep sea geologists, and so many more. Along the way, the team of six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Together, they set off to exotic locales. Literally to the bottom of the ocean. To a vast and mysterious redwood forest. To an unknown complex of massive caves. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins .... Loaded with astonishing action sequences, Natural Selection is that rare breed of thriller, filled with intricately layered research, real three-dimensional characters, and tornado pacing.

Dave Freedman lives in Southern California with his wife. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Princeton and a master's degree from Harvard. Natural Selection is his first novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
"An earnest Michael Crichton-style thriller . . . respects science and its audience's intellect . . . In a day and age when "intelligent design" is touted as a respectable credo, a piece of pop entertainment that takes the time to uphold Darwin's thesis in readable fashion is to be heartily endorsed."
Booklist Reviews
This debut novel changes before your very eyes. It begins as an implausible riff on Jurassic Park, with carnivorous rays (those big, flat sea creatures) standing in for the dinosaurs. But somewhere along the way, something remarkable happens to the story: you start believing it. Is it the author's enthusiasm, or his characters, or his research? Whatever the reason, there comes a moment when you feel the first twinge of fear, and then you realize that you're buying into this story of giant, prehistoric rays that have learned to fly (yes, fly, in the air) and are now hunting on land. Some of the imagery--shapes swooping out of the blackness, rays as big as hang gliders hovering in midair--evoke a visceral terror in the reader. And the protagonists, a research crew struggling to figure out what these creatures are--and then running for their lives from them--are a likable bunch. Okay, so bits of the story are a little shopworn, like the financially strapped theme-park owner who sends the crew of plucky young scientists out to find the creatures, but in the end, this hardly matters. Like all the best horror authors, Freedman takes his story well beyond the safety of camp; by making it believable, he makes it genuinely terrifying--and when that happens, large audiences follow. Don't be surprised if giant flying fish are the talk of the summer. Keep watching the skies. ((Reviewed May 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly
The sea monster "Demonray," who makes landfall in Freedman's far-fetched but entertaining debut, possesses all the predatory features to provide maximum chills. It's got a big brain, big wings, big teeth and a big purpose: to devour anything in its path, including humans. Harry Ackerman, a jaded millionaire whose Manta World (think Jurassic Park) failed when all his captive manta rays died, learns about the sighting of a mysterious flying ray and dispatches a staff of young scientists led by ichthyologist Jason Aldridge, "the next Jacques Cousteau," to investigate. What they find is no ordinary airborne ray, but an amphibious "new order" that has the potential to wipe out mankind. The exciting, science-packed hunt moves quickly but slows down once the crew encounters the Demonray in Northern California's Redwood National Park. Culminating in a cartoonish showdown, this Michael Crichton adventure wanna-be suffers from other odd plot elements, unconvincing romance and pedestrian prose, but it might make an awesome beach read. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the dark depths of the ocean floor come flying sea monsters who eat sharks for breakfast. In this debut thriller, Freedman suggests that while evolution may have halted in humans, it continues among sea creatures. Thousands of them swim up from the ocean floor to escape a killer virus, and as they move to the light, they gradually acquire new and deadly characteristics. By the time they're off the California coast, they're 12 feet long, have a 14-foot wingspan and weigh 4,000 pounds. Adaptation has also led to their being able to breathe above and fly from the water-and they're hungry. In a series of action scenes that will have Hollywood animation artists salivating, the monsters stalk and devour dolphins, sharks and humans, though one predator exhibits the good grace to spare an infant. Unfortunately, Freedman's writing, especially his descriptions, never measures up to his nightmarish idea. Hobbling the work is a predictable plot about a group of marine scientists (thin characters all, usually established by what they wear) determined to find out what's coming up from the ocean. They're driven by an entrepreneur who, like those who sought the mighty Kong, desperately wants to capture and exhibit the monsters to the public. Their pursuit takes them up the coast, eventually coming to center on a redwood forest where the creatures swoop down on them. In the midst of it all, romance, of course, blooms between leader Jason Aldridge ("male ambition in a wet suit") and ocean nutrition specialist Lisa Barton. Lisa teaches her man he's just got to open up and trust other people. They head to the altar, the monsters mostly dispatched, though enough remaining to evolve into a sequel. Thepremise has bite, but the primer-style prose lacks teeth.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786176748
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/6/2006
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: 19311 Blackstone
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.56 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author


Dave Freedman was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Southern California with his wife. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Princeton and his Masters from Harvard University. Natural Selection is his first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Nailbiter

    This was an extremely entertaining book, a real nailbiter. The writing was not Chaucer but I don't read these sorts of books for great writing, I read them to be entertained and this book did that in spades. The concept of a dangerous winged species that lives in the depths of the ocean and is forced into the air for food is outstanding and the author did an amazing job making it seem absolutely real and plausible. Natural terrified me in a way that even Jurassic Park did not; it just felt so real. Freedman won't win any sentence structure awards and his editors should be shot but this was a phenomenally entertaining read. Will make an amazing movie too.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Demon ray

    Horrible story line i did not care if anyone died in this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    This was one of the faster reads I've ever had, kind of reminded

    This was one of the faster reads I've ever had, kind of reminded me of the DaVinci Code, that kind of super quick read, except this was much more visual and considerably more terrifying. Natural Selection has "movie" written all over it. I can't believe it hasn't been made into a film already. It will be a blockbuster. Aside from that, the grammer here was poor at times but that didn't really bother me.

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  • Posted February 9, 2013

    I don't know about you but I usually love novels like this. If i

    I don't know about you but I usually love novels like this. If it has a monster/horrific creature in it chances are I am more than likely going to want to give it ago. I've loved books like these ever since I watched Jurassic Park and Jaws as a kid when I went to the library to find books similar to those films. So last week I came across Natural Selection by Dave Freedman on Goodreads last week I did a quick library search and put this one on hold expecting it to be just the adrenaline rushing read I've been craving.

    It wasn't.

    When I looked at the book on Goodreads I saw that it didn't have the highest ratings in the world but I was determined to give it a shot because what might not be liked by others could totally turn into a favourite book of mine but Natural Selection was not up to par in my opinion.

    Right off the bar the book started off very slowly. I'm not kidding it took me almost an hour to read the first 50 pages and still I persevered although now looking back after I've finished the book I can't really explain why.



    The writing of the entire book was very disruptive. It would switch from different characters perspectives far too abruptly and without cause in my opinion. To me the entire 432 pages of the novel lacked any real flow. I honestly had a very hard time keeping focused on the story because of it.

    The characters were extremely one dimensional. they were not in any way shape or form. After finishing the book I realized that I knew basically nothing about the characters except that they were researchers with a lot of arrogance and I didn't even know what they really looked like or anything else about them. Plus like I said the characters all came across as arrogant and self serving but my biggest disappointment was the fact that they seemed more like props in the story than characters and many of them I felt could just have been left out because though none of them really added anything to the story some of them added less than nothing.

    The plot of the story did have promise though but I think that it didn't even come close to reaching it. The novel was bogged down by a lot of science mumbo-jumbo which normally wouldn't bother me because in the case of unknown creatures I like a bit of science mumbo-jumbo to explain the creature's origins however it was way too overdone. It made the plot turn from what could have been a really exciting, thrilling and adrenaline pumping read into a book that was as dry as those dreadful short story collections that we've all read in our high school English classes. Absolutely boring.

    The idea of the rapidly evolving manta rays was pretty unique I can honestly say that I have never come across a book with those as the creatures from hell and I think that they were the one redeeming thing about the book. I liked that the author was trying something new but I just didn't think he went about it the right way for my tastes. The lack of action in a book like this was surprising to me because a thriller needs to have me on the edge of my seat this one lacked that completely.

    Now, I know I may be sounding a little harsh but remember this is not a DNF review. I stuck out the whole book in hopes that it would get better and redeem itself because I really, really, really wanted to enjoy it however I just couldn't.

    While I didn't like it I know that there are some people out there that would probably be delighted with Freedman's debut but I would advise that you borrow this book and not buy it just in case your inclined not to like it or are a little wary. I for one am really glad that I borrowed it and didn't purchase it because I planned to do just that if my library didn't have it available. Despite my misgivings about the novel though if this books sounds like something you would enjoy then go read it! As always if you do like it come back and let me know what you thought. I will say though that if the author writes another novel I would be more than happy to give it a try.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Yet another Jurassic Park spin-off: under the influence of mutat

    Yet another Jurassic Park spin-off: under the influence of mutated virus the creatures of the deep transform into huge toothy monsters and rise up to snack on Californians, while a team of scientists ( beatiful ladies included) saves the world from the menace. OK, I don't mind recycling - but I do mind the sloppy jobs. It is really embarassing that the author apparantly has no idea what the name of his book means. Sorry but the notion that a fish which decides to become a top predator in the skies of redwood forest would just grow couple of tons, get itself lungs, wings, T-rex fangs, a radar (!?), lions roar , evil (of course) powerful brain and it"s lunchtime - that's not Darwinism. In fact its the opposite : exactly the ideology of Stalin's pseudoscientist Trofim Lysenko from 1950's. Either the author has slept through his high school biology class, or he hopes his readers have. I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). This one OIPD-ICPU.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome book!!!!! COMBINES THE BEST OF JAWS AND JURASSIC PARK!!!

    Cool idea. A new species has been lurking in the oceans deepest depths since pangea. It has adapted into a vicious predator, that is responsible for the extiction of many shark species. A virus caused it to move towards the surface, and now it terrorizing the upper ocean. Its adapting fast and learning many new ways to hunt will anything survive this predator? A group of marine biologists are tracking a new species its so far seems to he very strange and elusive, but what they dont know is they could be just putting them on a death wish. TRY PUT THIS AWESOME BOOK!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sea-Creatures

    This book was excellent! Strange creature resembling manta rays are spotted in the Pacific ocean near the California coast where many seagulls, dolphins, and sharks have been disappearing.

    A team of scientists and biologists track it's migration north. They think it may be an evolutionary new species, predatory, deadly, rising from the ocean's depths, but why? What is causing it? Could it be a virus, nature's way of solving the world's over-population problem?

    I really liked this thrilling first novel by Dave Freedman. It was fantastic! I couldn't put it down and I look forward to another!

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  • Posted October 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good first effort

    The subject and the story held my interest, but it was fairly easy to tell that Freedman has never written a story before. As the Washington Post reviewer indicates, the story jumps far too often from one point of view to another, and his sentence structure is atrocious.

    Still, the story is a nail-biter in spite of these flaws and one hopes that his next book (if there is one) will show an improvement.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Not bad

    This book was ok. It's about the evolution of a new species that leaves the sea and takes to the land to find prey. The scientists that are tracking them soon find out how dangerous this new species is... I recommend this if you are looking for an easy beach read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    JUST FANTASTIC ....

    WOW, did this thing move FAST, one of the quickest reads I've ever had. Every single chapter I just wanted to find out what happens next. It's all about the modern day evolution of a new species of flying predator -- how cool is that? The execution was fantastic, too. Great science, tremendous action, fascinating but still entertaining explanations of evolution, and, best of all, a horrifyingly realistic new species evolving right here on earth. This book's gonna make an UNBELIEVABLE movie, mark my words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    wow, great book...

    GREAT, just the idea of the story line keeps you wanted to read, the whole story wanting to know what happens next.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    great debut novel for dave freedman

    first off i live in san diego so this was even more suspesnful his research was tremendous and actually even though it is fiction all of it seems logical that maybe there is a species we have not seen thats down so far in the dephts of the ocean that evolved that needs to feed.it's up there with jaws,jurassic park,congo. great thriller i would've never read the novel from a debut author but i read the first chapter at barnes and nobel and was hooked to see wear he can take it to definaetly an author to look out for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    The premise is nothing new. The plot is nothing new. The book is way too wordy, and the writing subpar. Worse though is that the author should blame the editors for their terrible job. If I read the phrase 'sun dappled' one more time I thought that I would scream!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2007

    Fast, fun and refreshing ...

    This book was a pure joy, very fun to read, impossible to put down. I didn't love the prologue, found it extraneous, but it was only two pages so who cares. The characters weren't fantastic either but for the genre they're strong, definable yet real archetypes that are imminently relatable. The science, the pace and the action are what set this book apart. A whole lotta fun. Freedman is an author to watch. I'd put his first effort right up there with another author who writes fantastic, fast-moving plots where characters aren't great yet good enough: Dan Brown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2007

    An airborne JAWS

    A fast paced, hard to put down thriller with a premise that will make any reader wish to, if not already, live in the midwest, far from any coastline. Follows the line of thinking from Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, ' Nature will find a way'. A good first novel from a new author to follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2007

    GREAT FUN!

    i really enjoyed this. the read was fast and furious and totally made me forget about life for a while. highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    How did this 'writer' get published?

    Is'nt the idea of a thriller novel to get the reader hooked right from the start? This piece of crap is so badly written I did'nt get past a few chapters!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2007

    Maybe next time

    Interesting plot, horrible writing. Potential is there, so still have hope for future novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2007

    Very, very hard to put down

    I'm a librarian and Booklist recently named Natural Selection one of the best debut novels of 2006. I hadn't heard of it previously so I gave it a try. In a word, Wow. Natural Selection is extremely exciting, truly very hard to put down, one of those books that keeps you up very late at night. You just don't want to stop reading it. Even on school nights. Fun, exciting, very well researched, outstanding plot, a shocking finale - this book has it all. The movie could be absolutely astonishing. Dave Freedman is an author to watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    Must Read

    Plain and simple great read. Perfect vacation book, but bring other books because you will be done in a day. Could not put it down it was an excellent mix of science and thriller.

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