An intriguing book from the CFZ Press in which Glen Vaudrey looks at cases of possible sea serpent remains from those rugged coastlines of Scotland. Books like this are essential reading for anyone who may consider themselves a monster hunter, but those sceptics among you may also be pleased by the fact that Glen doesn't simply hail each piece of evidence as truly monstrous, and instead he looks at many cases where alleged monster remains have turned out to be nothing of the sort. This is an easy-to-read guidebook that may still leave us wondering why evidence seems to be lacking in support of sea serpents, but the CFZ have done a great job at publishing a book on a much ignored subject. Whatever your belief, the next time you're scanning those shores with your beady eyes, you may think again about that strange blubbery mass you just trod on!
This is an interesting review of sea serpent sightings and discoveries. It is well researched and generally well written. However, there are a number of issues which render it less than useful for those wanting to undertake further research the subject of sea 'monsters', specifically a lack of referencing and indexing. Although there is a bibliography, the numerous accounts of sightings from newspapers are not referenced making it difficult and time consuming for anyone wanting to inspect an account further. It is occasionally unclear whether some quotes are taken directly from an original source or are paraphrasing by the author, i.e. 'The intestines of a bank, min, so it could name have been only fresh, ye ken'. A reference would have clarified if this was attributable to Smith (Provost of Girvan) or paraphrased by Vaudrey.
The authors 'humour' is far too prevalent and disturbs the flow of reading, as do the frequent deviations into pointlessnes. For example, is the recent draining of a section of the Manchester ship canal and rediscovered objects dumped in it (such as trolleys and sofas) really a worthwhile introduction to the discovery of a carcass in the Caledonian canal?
More uncomfortable are the authors derogatory comments towards young people, frequently referring to them as 'neds' (a Scottish equivalent of the term chav) such as in connection with an 1830 sighting on Benbecula. Is that really necessary and appropriate given some of the potential readership of this book? It may be humour, but it greatly detracts from the serious nature of the book.
In addition, some of the editing is sloppy - 'yep' and 'nineteen odd years' are not the best uses of English by the author and shamefully allowed to pass by the editors. If the publishers/editors are attempting to publish serious studies into cryptozoology, then they should look to academia and perhaps establish some style guidelines (i.e. Captioning all images). Books don't have to be stuffy, but too many colloquialisms can detract from an enjoyable read and make it appear less of a serious study into the subject.
If you can see beyond the poor humour and occasionally sloppy editing, then this is a good and interesting book. If you're looking to undertake further research in this area, it will point you in the general direction you need to go looking in but you'll have to track down all the primary sources yourself.