Beast (Benchley novel)
|Followed by||White Shark|
A fishing community in Bermuda is disrupted by a series of mysterious disappearances at sea. Veteran fisherman Whip Darling suspects the truth, and after discovering two large hooks advises confidant Marcus Sharpe, a local Navy pilot, that the culprit is Architeuthis dux: a giant squid.
A marine biologist called Talley also guesses the truth after the latest disaster, and convinces the millionaire father (Manning) of two of the victims to fund a hunt for the creature. The local mayor attempts to overrule all parties and participates in an exploratory mission on a mini-submarine, but is killed when the creature destroys the vessel. Darling's crewmate also perishes.
Although reluctant to participate any further, Darling is blackmailed when Manning assumes ownership of his outstanding mortgage. Darling, Sharpe, Talley and Manning embark on a new hunt, although Manning is later killed in an accident. The creature is attracted by hormones Talley cultivated from a dead giant squid, and threatens to sink their vessel. Darling wounds the creature, and its struggling attracts a sperm whale, which kills the squid.
Returning to land, the group are oblivious to the fact that some of the squid's spawn have survived and due to overfishing will grow to adulthood unchallenged.