Of all the books on tape I’ve listened to, Steve Alten’s Meg is easily among the worst. (See? It’s so bad that I’m not even linking to it, as I want to spare you the possibility of accidentally buying the thing.) The story gave the distinct impression that it was written after reading the Thrillers chapter of Writing for Dummies, with cardboard stereotype characters, a big scary prehistoric critter, a trite, predictable story arc, and a ridiculously unrealistic ending. Alas, the audiobook version compounded these sins with its sound track. Hmmm, where have we heard a two-note rising half-step motive in the low strings associated with a shark before? If plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery, then John Williams should be feeling pretty good about himself right now. (Though since Williams swiped it from Dvorak, I guess we should extend some grace here.)

Steve Alten, in spite of his evident desire to topple Michael Crichton from the top of the thrillers list, doesn’t even manage to register on his radar. Steer clear, my friends. There be dragons here.