The Trench (MEG #2)

The Trench Book Cover The Trench
MEG
Steve Alten
Horror
Pinnacle
July 28, 1999
352

In this thrilling sequel to Steve Alten's sci-fi thriller, MEG: Deep Terror, paleobiologist and Megaladon expert Jonas Taylor must face his deepest fears in order to save his job, his family, and himself.

Four years after the incident at the Mariana Trench that unleashed a pregnant Megaladon, Jonas Taylor now houses her one surviving offspring at the Tanaka Institute. Deep in debt, Taylor has turned to an eccentric billionaire to help keep the institute afloat, but it doesn't come without a price. Drawn into a web of deceit and lies, plagued by nightmares of his own death, Taylor must once again face frightening monsters of unimaginable power. Only this time, it's not just the sharks he has to watch out for.

 

The Trench picks up 4 years after the end of MEG. In that time, the surviving baby megalodon from the first book has grown to rival her mother. Trapped in the artificial lagoon of the Tanaka Institute, she has become an 8th wonder of the world. That being said, keeping a large thought-to-be-extinct creature captive as a habit of not going well. All the while there are evil, greedy rich people attempting to manipulate the situation to their own ends. And like the first book, this all kicks off in the style of a SyFy Channel original film.

First off, any good monster story has to have a fair amount of time dedicated to the monster. The Meg herself is not a malicious creature. She is an animal driven by instinct, nothing more and nothing less. But she is also an invasive species that could cause catastrophic damage outside of her natural habitat. This time around, however, the Meg is not the only monster lurking beneath the sea.

Following 4 years of lawsuits after the first Meg rampage, the Tanaka Institute fell on hard times. Until the eccentric billionaire Benedict Singer came along. And as we all know, “eccentric” is a synonym used to replace “crazy” when talking about rich people. While Singer is a stereotypical villain, from having a god complex to speaking Latin because it makes him feel smart, his wealth makes him truly dangerous. Accompanying him is Celeste, Singer’s arm candy who is more venomous than any viper. The pair makes dangerous foes that show true monsters often spring from humanity rather than the depths of the sea.

Like the Meg, this is by no means a serious book. If you like cheesy Sharknado-esque monster movies, you will enjoy The Trench. There is a big monster, made-up science, characters who behave kind of like real people, and other classic B-movie tropes. Water monsters are always scary since man is out of his natural element in the sea. And people are still scared of sharks over 40 years after Jaws came out. With stories like The Trench still being released semi-regularly today, that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

February 24, 2019

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