Peter Benchley's masterful vel of suspense has become a classic of modern fiction since it was first published in 1974. The story of the great white shark that threatens the peace of the small holiday resort of Amity on Long Island in upstate New York spawned one of the most iconic movies of the last 50 years and became a bestseller around the world. The simple, but gruesome opening of the young girl being attacked while swimming by a shark only for her remains to turn up as the tide recedes begins a powerful story which examines the many simmering emotions that lie beneath the seemingly cosy face of the town and the relationships of the men and women affected by the threat to their livelihoods and their families. The vel spawned a number of copycats, but Benchley's vel has never been surpassed.
Petr Benchley was born in New York City in 1940. He was the son of the novelist Nathaniel Benchley and he worked first as a reporter for the Washington Post and then as an associate editor of Newsweek Magazine. He also did some speechwrting for President Johnson and wrote stories and articles for publications such as the New Yorker and National Geographic Magazine. Jaws was his first novel and he went on to write seven more works of fiction, including The Deep and The Island. He died in 2006.