Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be swallowed whole by a huge animal? The thought alone can make you shudder and feel breathless. This is exactly what happens to Jay Gardiner, the protagonist in Daniel Kraus‘s latest thriller, Whalefall.
The book combines the suspenseful elements of The Martian and the sheer will to survive against all odds of 127 Hours. Daniel Kraus (The Living Dead, The Shape of Water) creates a compelling story that intertwines mourning, self-discovery, and human perseverance within the context of a calamitous diving expedition.
The story begins with Jay Gardiner’s quest to find the remains of his father who died by suicide a year earlier. Jay sets out into the treacherous waters of Monastery Beach in the Pacific. Things start to go awry when a giant squid appears before Jay, and he finds himself caught in the tentacles. Just when things can’t get any worse, a sperm whale comes to consume the squid and mistakenly swallows Jay with it. He soon finds himself in the whale’s belly, with only an hour’s worth of oxygen left and no means of escape.
Kraus’s masterful storytelling keeps you on the edge of your seat and paints the vivid imagery of being trapped inside the whale’s belly. You can feel the desperation, the fear, and the hopeless feeling of being trapped inside a huge sea creature. The book also highlights some fantastic elements of marine biology, diving, and the unique features of sea creatures. The descriptions are clear and scientifically accurate, adding more depth and realism to the story.
The book is not just about the thrilling adventure of surviving in the belly of a whale. It also explores deeper themes of mourning and guilt, as Jay struggles to come to terms with his father’s death. Kraus brings in a sense of vulnerability, humanity, and tenderness to Jay’s character as he confronts his fears and tries to make amends with his past. It’s this emotional core that makes the story resonate with readers and elevates it from being just another survival thriller.
Whalefall is an incredible thriller that combines action, suspense, and emotions in the best way possible. Kraus’s writing is impeccable, and he manages to weave a compelling story that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The book never slows down, and each chapter raises the stakes higher, leaving you breathless and eagerly anticipating what happens next. But at its heart, Whalefall is more than just a story of survival against all odds, it’s a story about the human spirit and our innate ability to overcome even the most challenging situations.
Kraus joins the Capes and Tights Podcast for Episode 119 on August 2, 2023 to discuss Whalefall and more!
About Whalefall’s Author
Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling writer of novels, TV, and film. His collaboration with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero, The Living Dead, was acclaimed by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-authored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. Kraus’s The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year. Kraus has won the Bram Stoker Award, Scribe Award, two Odyssey Awards (for both Rotters and Scowler), and has appeared multiple times as Library Guild selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, and more.
Kraus’s work has been translated into over 20 languages. He lives with his wife in Chicago. Visit him at danielkraus.com.