Are you searching for a beach read? Look no further… I have just the book for you! Michael Capuzzo’s Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence will keep you on the edge of your seat (and perhaps out of the water!) This page-turning drama chronicles a series of fatal shark attacks that occurred off the coast of New Jersey during the summer of 1916.
Capuzzo paints a vivid picture of the post-Victorian era, where the nouveaux riches escape the sweltering summer heat of the city and head to the Jersey Shore. It is a genteel time, when ladies and gents dress for dinner, and ocean swimming is a new form of recreation. The idyllic seaside is suddenly transformed to a scene of unexplained terror when the son of a prominent physician from Philadelphia becomes the first victim of a mysterious aquatic beast. (Shark attacks were unheard of in the United States until this event.)
The current ichthyologic knowledge of the time, newspaper accounts, interviews, medical journals and other historical documents, interwoven throughout the book, put the reader in the moment of this terrifying summer. The momentum builds as subsequent victims are taken during the course of twelve long days. How the victims, their families, the community at large, as well as the community leaders cope with the tragedies and the unexplained source of the terror and work together to attempt to put a stop to the seemingly uncontrollable water beast provide an interesting and heart pulsing read. Don’t miss Close to Shore… and I imagine after reading it, you may remain “close to shore”!
Check the WRL catalog for Close to Shore.