The pike - C Twemlow I can blame buying this book on the BBC Radio 4. I was listening to their podcast Open Book about the Lake District and, as usual, I started Googling for more information and photos. With the amount of writers that have lived in the area I did have plenty to add to my To Read list. Somehow I found myself on the wiki for Lake Windermere, and under the popular culture heading saw this:In the horror novel The Pike (1982) by Cliff Twemlow, a 12-foot (3.7 m) long pike in Windermere goes on a killing spree, and the consequence is a boom in the lake's tourist trade. Two attempts have been made to film the novel....Some people believe that there may be a lake monster, similar to the one alleged to live in Loch Ness, and anomalous photos have been taken of the supposed creature; it has been affectionately nicknamed "Bownessie." The novel Giant Killer Eels by Stuart Neild is set in the Lake District and features Bownessie-like monsters in Windermere and Lake Unsworth.What made me focus on The Pike was reading the wiki for its author Cliff Twemlow - he's someone that definitely had an interesting career. And thanks to Amazon being an easy source of used paperback books, I found myself with a copy. [Sadly a very smelly copy, so it's going to go away once read since I know it'll spread its smell to my other books.]More about The Pike from Cliff Twemlow's wikipedia page:Twemlow then tried to make a film of The Pike, starring Joan Collins, but the budget could not be raised despite Collins’ star power and Twemlow and Collins promoting the film on the BBC’s Look North programme. During the promotion Joan appeared on a BBC TV Tomorrow's World special featuring the innovative and technically advanced mechanical Pike, made especially for the film. The Mechanical Pike apparently now resides as an exhibit of robotics in Japan.Pre-Read hope: That the book will be as humorous as the Giant Monster Attacks Town movies on the SyFy channel/B-movies of the 1950s. In other words, I'm ok with it being bad - in fact I really hope it's extremely cheesy.On the back of the book:ITS FIRST VICTIMS - A screeching swan...A fisherman overboard...A drunken woman in a dinghy...Somehow I don't think I need to worry much about the cheese factor.Post Read: This was deeply cheesy and enjoyable on that level. And I'm not going to give it any stars because it's one of those Can Not Rate on A Normal Scale of Books. Check out the quotes under Reading Progress and you'll see why. It was no surprise that the whole love story part (and the weird psychic bond type hooha) was deeply terrible, even when reading just for "how bad can this book get." The rest was completely amusing. This is definitely one of those Books To Take On Vacation and Leave Behind On Purpose When Finished.So I am going to spoil the end because it's something you can easily imagine would work as a screenplay (thought not a good one) and makes me wonder why SyFy hasn't snapped this up to make it. (Probably because they can come up with their own cheesy scripts in house.) Also the odds of everyone who might find this amusing actually getting their hands on a copy of this is remote. So here we go, dropping in near the end...Giant Pike attacks multiple times. Finally the crack team of diver/explorer/adventure/tech guys dive and - not a surprise - the pike attacks, but the entire group band together and the reveal.... it's not a fish, it's a 12 foot long mini submarine. Page 151:It had a metal head, fashioned to the perfect likeness of a giant pike, with gleaming steel teeth.Manned by Will the florist, who was mentioned earlier and in a paragraph or two the story let us know that Will had a Thing for ancient predators. Oh and I should add that the machine was stopped by Ulysses, the eccentric Scotsman, who'd shot it with an arrow - which impaled Will the florist, sending him to the hospital.You'd think think that'd be the end of it - BUT NO. Because in a deathbed-hospital scene we discover from Will that he never used the sub to hurt anyone, and he'd only injured one of the divers by accident. He claims that the Giant Pike is still alive in the lake, because he's seen it. The police refuse to believe the death bed confession and decide that the menace in the lake is indeed dead - er, decommissioned - so problem over.At this point there are only 4 pages left, so you're pretty sure it's just enough for an epilogue, babble with the love interests, and perhaps teaser for book two. BUT NO. Love interest couple is at the lake and Mike (the journalist) assures Emma he can indeed water ski. He goes off skiing across the lake and suddenly, p. 159:Emma watched, and the scream flew unbidden to her throat, breaking on the air harshly, a cry of terror and panic as Mike was suddenly seized from beneath and drawn at speed past the launch. Five yards beyond Emma's out-stretched hand, and before the astonished eyes of more than a hundred people, Mike disappeared beneath the water. The last thing Emma saw of him, the thing that burned itself into her brain, was the look of agony on his face. Consciousness left her swiftly and she toppled into Ulysses' arms.No amount of haggling by Wilmslow would move the police. Inspector George and others pointed to a backlog of cases where people swimming or skiing on the lake had disappeared. They got tangled and sank, the inspector said. There was terrible pressure at lower levels, pressure that would keep a body from ever rising.Emma is sedated and cared for by her father, her dreams of happy marriage to Mike shattered. Ulysses monitors the lake, knowing that someday he'll find and have revenge on the Pike. Now not just because it killed his dog, but also for Mike."Ah'll find ye," he said quietly, and far off there was the answering swish in the water.Because the Pike can't make any answering sounds to threats except water noises. Otherwise it would bellow or yodel or something.There were no fish and chips jokes. That I can remember, anyway. I might have blocked out some of the writing though, immediately after reading it. Quotes, unless there's something monster-like in the content assume the links are about scenery (I wrote that bit about monster-like before I read the book - but none of the monster descriptions were that good, as you can tell from the spoiler quotes above):Opening lines, p 5, just to get the place names to link to some visuals:"Peace. Sunlight was dispersing the dawn mist around Bowness waterfront, silvering the lake and warming the shoulders of three anglers down by the ferry at Hawkshead. It was Sunday and still early enough for a man to feel the quietness touching his ears. The anglers trailed their lines and gazed out across Windermere, watching the still grace of two swans."Also see Bowness-on-Windermere. Snarky comment about Quietness ear touching below under Reading Progress.p 8:"...to glimpse the deep, open trough of Riggendale."p 20:"...To their certain knowledge, the three men had already been filed under Fairies, Millionaire Playboys, Overgrown Kids, Spies, Drifters and Flashy Weirdos. Privately, they did have a label for themselves, though they were always careful never to display it: Commercial Adventurers.Except Commercial Adventurers actually sounds dull compared to Flashy Weirdos. Though the Flashy Weirdos does sound like the name of a bad cover band.Adding this bit just to give you an idea of the "high tech" writing that goes into describing the diver/adventure dudes, p 94:"Joe, Larry and Lars were the centre of attention as they kitted themselves for the preliminary dive. In addition to the usual wetsuits and air tanks, the men were fitted with a variety of electric and photographic gear that gave them the appearance of space explorers. Lars, the most exotic-looking of the three, had a small video camera strapped to his head, coupled to a recording machine at his waist. On his chest there was an adapted Canon Autofocus camera in a pressurised housing, and strapped to his belt he had a battery pack powering two flashguns and a wide-beam spotlight. His spear, a wickedly thin and pliant device fitted with battery and capacitors to deliver a lethal shock on impact, was anchored to his left shoulder."All spelling as in the original. Also, welcome to high tech, 1982.