Twelve Days of Terror

Bookshelf: Twelve Days of Terror

Twelve Days of Terror
Twelve Days of Terror

Twelve Days of Terror – Richard Fernicola

I read this book in the hope that it would provide something a little more substantial and reasoned than Michael Capuzzo’s Close to Shore and the Shark Week special – Blood in the Water – based on the latter book. The events dealt with in these works took place in New Jersey in 1916, when five shark attacks (four fatal) took place over a period of two weeks. Three of the attacks occurred in a freshwater creek, some distance from the sea.

Having been regaled to the point of exhaustion on the subject of Victorian bathing culture by Capuzzo, I was less than enthusiastic about also having to wade through Fernicola’s incredibly detailed treatment of the subject. The book is poorly edited (if at all) and lacks structure, is hopelessly too long, and is very repetitive.

My interest was engaged, however, by the sections in which Fernicola attempts to determine how many and what kind of shark(s) were involved. The fact that some of the attacks took place in a creek would implicate a bull (Zambezi, if you’re South African) shark, as other kinds of sharks do not tolerate freshwater. Fernicola also analyses the wounds inflicted, timeline of the attacks, and goes into some detail about the various sharks caught in the vicinity after the attacks took place. His conclusion, after pages and pages of deliberation, is that a single great white shark was responsible. I don’t buy it.

That said, this is an entertaining, light read which may be enjoyed by those who like sharks and drama.

The book is available here.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.