Having previously reviewed two books from this author - both of which were awarded 5 Stars, I was immediately disappointed just as soon as I saw this particular work. Thinking perhaps it was one of his earlier works (for which all authors can be forgiven!), I checked the dates of publication only to discover this was the later of the three. Some might even thinking this is a book for children - although it is not.
Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch is an acknowledged authority on the Shark having written a number of acclaimed works on the subject. In this work, however, he seeks to produce one of those diver log-book publications with two pages at the end reserved for personal notes on shark sightings. That concept simply doesn't work with fixed binding books because once those spaces are full, the book is of no further use in that respect and nobody else would ever be interested in a book full of somebody else's notes and observations.
The layout is reminiscent of Immel Publishing (now defunct) from 30 years ago with wide, blank margins on almost every page. This is a small book where space is at a premium and none of that space should not be wasted on a publisher's obsession with wide margins. Typing is a little on the large side and I continually found it difficult to understand why the author appears to have struggled to fill such a small book (8¼ x 6 in or 210x150mm) with only 96 pages when the very subject of sharks demands the divulging of endless information.
Content is arranged with several chapters under each of the two main headings; Part One: Shark Biology and Behaviour and Part Two: Shark Identification. In these areas, Stafford-Deitsch comes into his own and I am confident the reader can trust the information given because he really does know his stuff. This is, however, the only area where the book scores points but even that is insufficient when the text is viewed alongside the images. Photographs are often barely adequate. Not all are of Sharks and some that are show a small creature in the distance. Not all species arte shown and a few images are of such poor quality they should not have been used. Point being, if you see a Shark while diving in the Red Sea, you are not likely to find a clear representation of your sighting in this book and that rather defeats the purpose of the work altogether!
The most useful item, for me at least, in the whole book was a profile drawing of what is called a `Generalized Shark' where all the main 16 parts are labelled. At least I learned something from that.
In summary, therefore, a bit of a let-down from someone capable of so much better.