When marine scientists begin to see huge chunks bitten out of enormous dolphins, and they can't identify the teeth marks as any sea creature that they know of, they become concerned and intrigued. Using imaginative and aggressive scientific knowledge and paleontology, the scientists immerse themselves in tracking the huge beasts up the California coast, coming closer and closer to what seems to be a group of manta rays that has evolved from prehistoric times into a huge predatory machine. The scientists are horrified to discover that the manta rays present a threat far worse than they imagined. Their research leads to a growing understanding that these manta rays have made stunningly rapid evolutionary leaps rather than become extinct. As evidenced by increasing carnage in the waters, these once-quiet sea inhabitants have become bloodthirsty killers. As the researchers converge upon the mantas, they find themselves facing an even more terrifying discovery: the leader has emerged from the deep and has learned to fly.
The sea monster "Demonray," who makes landfall in Freedman's far-fetched but entertaining debut, possesses all the predatory features to provide maximum chills. It's got a big brain, big wings, big teeth and a big purpose: to devour anything in its path, including humans. Harry Ackerman, a jaded millionaire whose Manta World (think Jurassic Park) failed when all his captive manta rays died, learns about the sighting of a mysterious flying ray and dispatches a staff of young scientists led by ichthyologist Jason Aldridge, "the next Jacques Cousteau," to investigate. What they find is no ordinary airborne ray, but an amphibious "new order" that has the potential to wipe out mankind. The exciting, science-packed hunt moves quickly but slows down once the crew encounters the Demonray in Northern California's Redwood National Park. Culminating in a cartoonish showdown, this Michael Crichton adventure wanna-be suffers from other odd plot elements, unconvincing romance and pedestrian prose, but it might make an awesome beach read. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . A Great Read
Posted December 20, 2011 by Katelyn , ClarksvilleI actually found this book at Dollar Tree and I'm so glad I did.This is one of the best books I've ever read.I couldn't put it down. Dave Freedman is a great writer and makes an exciting plot line and theme. It's worth reading.
June 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Natural Selection by Dave Freedman
Chad Thompkins took a breath of the fresh sea air. Oh yeah, he thought, this is why I became a lawyer--to buy myself this kind of freedom. He took another breath and let it out, long and slow. Chad was thirty-two and had just purchased a new forty-foot cabin cruiser. Along with his wife; his pal, Dave Pelligro; and Dave's new girlfriend, he was cruising out to Clarita Island, off the coast of Los Angeles, on this sunny June day. They were forty-five minutes into the one-hour trip from Newport Beach. The sea was fairly flat, tiny waves here and there, and they'd arrive soon. They had already passed the better-known Catalina Island, and Chad could see their destination in the distance. The plan was to work on their tans, then settle down for some lunch, though Chad was getting a little hungry already.
"Get me a sandwich, will you, Gabby?"
On a molded seat, his wife gave Chad an angry I'm not your maid look. But she tossed him a Saran-wrapped turkey and mayo anyway. "Here you are, Your Majesty."
He chuckled. "Thanks, Gab."
"Nice, huh?" Dave Pelligro said to his date, Theresa Landers.
In a tight sky-blue top, white shorts, and too much makeup, Theresa surveyed the water. "Beautiful." She turned to her host. "Thanks for having us, Chad."
"Glad you guys could make it. I'm sure I would have been bored if it were just me and Gabby out here."
Theresa shook her head. She didn't like Chad much. He was an arrogant preppy in a red polo who didn't wear sunglasses. But it was his boat, and she'd never "lunched" off Clarita Island before. She looked forward to getting there.
With the exception of a small tourist area with restaurants, docks, and a beachside bar, the bulk of Clarita Island was undeveloped, overrun by trees and thick shrubbery. Clarita's western shore, mostly jagged black rocks, was downright desolate. Miles away from the clattering human noise of the island's eastern side, it was barren of people, the only sounds from the wind and tiny breaking waves.
Gliding on a current of air, a seagull appeared from behind the trees. A couple hundred feet high, the bird flew over the dark ocean and looked down, scanning for fish.
It saw absolutely nothing.
And yet something was there. The bird had missed them. They were perfectly still, just below the surface, watching it.
The gull spotted something and dove down. It plunged quickly, but then, just yards from the water, veered off. It had seen a strand of kelp, long and greenish brown, and mistaken it for a fish. Carried by momentum, the tiny flier ripped across the water, unknowingly passing a single pair of black eyes. Then it passed a second pair. Then a hundred. But still, nothing moved. The eyes simply shifted as the little feathered body tore past. They were all watching it.
Chad Thompkins cut the gas, and the boat came to a bobbing stop. They were a few hundred yards from Clarita's main docks, where the mammoth Clarita ferry had just deposited the latest batch of tourists, mostly families with obnoxious kids. To the right of the docks, Chad eyed a beach slightly larger than a Wal-Mart aisle, jam-packed with out-of-shape sun worshipers. He found it unappetizing, to say the least. "You guys don't want to stop here, do you?"
Gabby, Dave, and Theresa all shook their heads.
Chad nodded. "My thoughts exactly." The lawyer hated crowds. As he started up the boat, he looked forward to the solitude of Clarita's always-deserted western shore.
There were more of them. Another hundred had crept up from below, joining the ones that were already studying the seagull. They still didn't move. They just watched the bird glide above the waterline.
Then their eyes shifted. From behind the trees, two dozen more gulls flew out over the water, also scanning for fish.
Looking down, the birds saw nothing but empty seas.