Review: Sharkman by Steve Alten

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Publisher: Rowman
Publishing Date: October 2014
ISBN: 9781630760199
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 1.8/5

Publisher Description: Depressed and feeling isolated, Kwan is befriended by his new principal, who tells him about an internship at a genetics lab in Miami working with shark stem cells that are being tested on rats to cure cancer and spinal injuries. Kwan passes . . . until he learns the beautiful Anya Patel is an intern at the lab. The good news is that the stem cells are curing their rat subjects; the bad news—it alters their DNA before killing them. When a promising breakthrough is made, Kwan decides to risk his life and inject himself with the experimental elixir of stem cells—

Review: Cover art needs some work. Like maybe a whole new concept.

This started out very intriguing. Paralyzed kid takes a chance on untested stem cells in a life or death bid to regain his life. And then we get a canned story-line. From teen angst and wuv interests, to bully’s and ultimate paybacks. Even the scenes that have yet to fully develop you can determine the outcome. For instance this guy and his hot wife in line at a dance club that are being harassed by 3 “bad Dudes”. You know right at the get-go that Kwan is going to save the day while showcasing his shark attributes. And then you really have to suspend your disbelief when it turns out Kwan’s rear admiral father is behind the stem cell research, unbeknownst to both of them. Really?

There are the standard digs on Cheney/Rumsfield (conservatives) and the accolades for Oprah/Obama that you come to expect when you read any of Alten’s books. The guy just can’t help but use his work as a mouthpiece for his political platform.

Was it all bad? Not at all. While the story-line could have taken an interesting turn into the covert world and left the laughable suitcase nuke/military industrial complex theory out, the characters were fairly solid and the pace moved at a good clip. Sabeen (a super hot middle eastern spy chick) really seemed like an inserted character that was an after thought. She takes out a couple of navy seals underwater, well, because she had such a bad life that turned her into a stone cold killer at 19 yo. Are you laughing yet? I did. Then “Poof”, she is gone. Then she gets called back by the Admiral to become a tiger shark. Huh? She does get an epilogue where she randomly kills innocent divers around Key Largo.

The whole “Kwan can outthink the military, evade capture, hide a nuke, create a diversion and plant the nuke on the Admirals boat while saving his friends locked in a freezer with C4” is a stretch. I think if you’re up to 15 years old you might like this. Me, not so much. I knew I was in for it when the author kept using “point” nine millimeter (.9) to designate a handgun caliber.

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