W. E. Burnette
Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (08/15)
In “Requiem Shark” by W.E. Burnette, an unlikely cast of characters are drawn together when Danny Markham, a Viet Nam veteran is killed by a bull shark off the coast of Florida. Victor Hillcrest, former VP of Mobilitide Corporation and Jake Lynch, a Mayflower contract truck driver served with Danny in the Third Special Recon Battalion of the First Infantry during Viet Nam, and planned a unique memorial service as a tribute to their friend.
Maco (Anita) Tressler, an award winning research writer, and Nathan Raynard, owner operator of the Predator, a 45 foot research vessel, have their own reasons for attending the service. Kelli Ryder, life guard and local teenage expert on the Indian River Lagoon waterways, was asked to be present because of her heroic act in attempting to rescue Danny from the shark.
Within days of the memorial service a plan is put in motion, a vendetta, to locate the bull shark and to get revenge for Danny’s death. Victor, a success in business, pledges the necessary funds for a week’s expedition and recruits the four to become a part of his mission of revenge.
Burnette incorporates a writing style which includes legends, facts, exaggerations, and an endless supply of trivia on the shark population around the world, and detailed descriptions of the Indian River Lagoon waterway and ecosystem. His writing is often touching and heartwarming, almost overlooked in the midst of stimulating dialog, mundane conflicts, and non- stop action.
Back stories are used to help develop multidimensional characters become stories within the story. Although I found these to be lengthy, they provided additional insights into the motivation and genuineness of the characters. Tender entries read from Kelli’s personal journal, reflective conversations, contrasting scenes depicting taut nerves, and strained emotions, establish a sense of camaraderie among the characters.
“Requiem Shark” by W.E. Burnette is a complex novel, including diligent research, satiric parody, humor, imaginative creative writing, superb character development, and a well told story. Reminiscent of Peter Benchley’s best seller novel, Jaws, Burnette captures the imagination of the reader in this action adventure novel from the first paragraph of page one right through to the final paragraph of the epilogue.