Media Review

“Congratulations to Kronos Rising: Kraken, winner of the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Book!”
-Sean Markey, Geek Ireland
 
“The entire horror universe now has a new writer. Kronos Rising, by Max Hawthorne is a delightful edge-of-your-seater, guaranteed to leave readers wanting to keep the lights on . . .”
-YeahStub.com
 
“. . . Diablo Caldera, a volcanic island off the coast of Cuba, has been the home of some terrifying monsters of the deep since the Cretaceous. But their imprisonment in this secluded lake is about to come to an end, and a nightmare is about to be unleashed into the open ocean. Max spins another harrowing, action-packed monster tale, painstakingly researched, and rich in scenic and historic detail, while delivering the same true-to-form, page-turning intensity as always.”
-Dorraine Fisher, The Crypto Crew
 

In 2014, Max Hawthorne’s KRONOS RISING became a huge hit with readers of sea monster fiction. Now, two years later, he has returned with the hotly demanded sequel. While most authors would have played it safe and stuck to a formula emulating the successful elements of the first novel (think the Meg series by Steve Alten), Hawthorne’s vision is cast on a larger canvas. KRAKEN jumps ahead 30 years into the future, depicting a worldwide ecological shift in earth’s oceans as a consequence of the events in the first novel. Using new technological tools and weapons developed in the ensuing years, the governments of the world have banded together to fight the all-too-real menace posed by the rise of giant pliosaurs as the world’s deadliest ocean predators. Fleets of anti-biologic submarines actively hunt the monsters, trying to destroy them, and not always successfully.

This aspect of the novel reminded me of Arthur. C. Clarke’s wonderful novel THE DEEP RANGE, where whales are a food source for humans and are herded like cattle by submariners who protect them from sea serpents and Megalodon sharks. While the monstrous pliosaurs are very much center stage in the tale, an evil and even more ancient biological terror from the deep is the novel’s namesake. Other paleo-horrors make appearances, as well. Max Hawthorne certainly knows how to tell and pace a fine adventure tale, in the tradition of Robert E. Howard. Don’t miss this wonderful addition to the Kronos Rising series. And this is only Volume 1 of the story!
Richard M. Reagan, CRYPTOMUNDO


“It’s Jurassic World on steroids!”

-Hobo’s Reviews


While stories of resurrected prehistoric monsters are well known in the big screen, when it comes to books they are a niche topic. With Michael Crichton passing, Steve Alten, author of the popular Meg franchise, has enjoyed a monopoly since 1997. This changed in 2014 with the emergence of Max Hawthorne’s Kronos Rising, a gripping yarn about a hungry pliosaur terrorizing a coastal community. The success of Kronos Rising proved there’s plenty of room for at least two big ‘fish’ in the sea as far as crafting monster stories is concerned.

Set 30 years later, Kraken – Volume 1 brings readers to a world where pliosaurs have taken over the oceans,toppling food chains and driving many species to the brink of extinction. What’s worse is they spread a disease fatal to mammalian life. If all that weren’t bad enough, the dwindling population of whales has caused another terror to make their presence known; a race of gigantic octopuses driven to the surface after their food supply was cut off. In an attempt to restore sanity, humanity has built fleets of heavily armed submarines to combat the pliosaur threat, in addition to an advanced ‘bio-weapons’ division which seeks to weaponize the monsters and turn them against their own.

Hawthorne certainly made good on his promise to introduce a variety of new creatures in his sequel. His pliosaurs are joined by the titular Kraken, who have no problem pulling apart a medium-sized ship and/or plucking hapless people from their decks, as well as another legendary hunter of the seas (to avoid spoiling one of the book’s best surprises, its name will not be mentioned). The most terrifying monster in Kraken by far is referred to as ‘the parasite’ – by Jove it is one of the most unpleasant critters ever committed to paper!


Kraken – Volume 1 is a worthy successor to Kronos Rising
. With plenty of action, horror and a dark sense of humor, there is much to be enjoyed in this tome. Fans of monster-based carnage should consider this an essential purchase.Sean Markey, Geek Ireland

“A word to the wise: if you bite your nails, you’d better wear oven mitts when reading Kronos Rising. It will drag you down to the depths of fear and take you back for a breath of air as fast as you can turn the pages. Readers beware: a new master of marine terror is in your bookstore, and his name is Max Hawthorne!”

– Stan Pottinger, NY Times Bestselling author


“What a ride! An adrenaline pumping, non-stop descent into terror, Kronos Rising will do for this generation what JAWS did for the last one. Forget going into the water; I’m not going near it!”
– Mara Corday, sci-fi classic star of Tarantula, The Black Scorpion, and The Giant Claw


“Until today, the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean remained an impossible mystery. But no more – a violent earthquake has finally unleashed a wonderfully horrific secret waiting to eat you alive. From the opening scene of black market shark hunters invading forbidden waters, Kronos Rising sweeps you onto a surprising, wildly inventive, thrill ride. A fabulous debut by Max Hawthorne. Simply put, it’s got teeth. Big ones!”

– Chris Parker, screenwriter (Vampire in Brooklyn, Mulan II, Battle of the Year, Heaven is for Real)


“Max Hawthorne explores the sinister side of the dark abyssal world with a new kind of beast, one that makes white sharks and giant squid as threatening as guppies and tadpoles.”

– Doug Olander, Editor-in-Chief, Sport Fishing Magazine


 
“If you’re a fan of big monsters, this is definitely a story for you. Max Hawthorne’s “Kronos Rising” takes readers
on a roller coaster ride of gigantic scale. We’re talking prehistoric big. The heroes of the novel are Jake Braddock, the sheriff of a small coastal Florida town, and Amara Takagi, a marine biologist. 

Then there’s the monster. The first clue readers get about its size comes from Amara researching a fragment of the creature’s tooth. According to her calculations, the whole tooth would weigh about 8 pounds. The approximate size of the monster, when we finally encounter it, is more than twice the length and width of a typical city bus. This titanic beast is fast and vicious — at one point it takes down a massive bull sperm whale with little effort. However, the greater monsters in the book are the humans who want to hunt the beast down and kill it. “Kronos Rising” is a solid read. Hawthorne is good at writing action sequences and keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Reminiscent of “Jurassic Park” or “Jaws,” “Kronos Rising” shows Hawthorne really did his homework to bring the creature to life in the story. He occasionally writes from the viewpoint of the monster in a way that pulls readers in. It’s a good adventure story and a pretty easy read, which doesn’t slow down or bore the reader. ” 

 
– Toledo Free Press Review
 

“Two of my favorite things in the world are horror and the sea. Both hold endless fascination for me, and they also occupy much of my thoughts these days; it seems the older I get, the more I want to focus on both for some reason. So I’m sure it’s no surprise to discover I love horror movies and books that deal with the ocean. DEEPSTAR SIX, LEVIATHAN, and JAWS are some of my favorite horror flicks, while MEG by Steve Alten and DAGON by H. P. Lovecraft are two of my favorite written works. I’m very proud to add KRONOS RISING to that elite list of favorites. Author Max Hawthorne serves up bucketfuls of horror in this terrifying tale, and I can guarantee it will keep people out of the water for a long time to come!
 
 Sea monsters have been a part of our culture for as long as history has been recorded. They are therefore, in part, responsible for the deeply rooted fear many people share of the water. As such, these beasts haunt our psyches, whether we are willing to admit it or not. This innate primal fear is drawn out in full with Hawthorne’s book, which makes it a powerful read on several levels.

KRONOS RISING is written very well, in the manner of a veteran writer who knows how to weave a mesmerizing story. The wording appears carefully chosen, and each sentence blends with the next like an intricate design on an ornate tapestry. This allows the story to flow quickly and smoothly, which in turn makes the 500+ pages fly by. I was finished with the book before I even realized it.

The characters are well thought out and believable, damaged individuals with personalities many of us can relate to on various levels. Jake and Amara both carry old wounds, both mental and physical, which makes the reader care about them. On the other side, the villains (aside from the creature) are devious and self-centered, obsessed individuals who focus more on personal gain rather than what’s right versus wrong. So in addition to the man-versus-nature dynamic, the reader also gets a nice dose of good-versus-evil. I like this combination, as it gives several focal points to the story.

KRONOS RISING has plenty of action and some downright terrifying scenes. I can’t even count how many times people wind up staring at the creature’s massive jaws as they are about to crunch down on them. And every time, I inwardly cringed. As much as I love to be on or under the water, I have to confess this possibility (being eaten alive by a sea predator) is always in the back of my mind. As unlikely as it is, the thought of it makes me shudder. Thus, each scene of these scenes in the book elicits a powerful emotion for me.

With heart-stopping intensity and insane action that will leave you begging for air, KRONOS RISING is a major win for me. I recommend this to anyone and everyone looking for a good read. Hawthorne is a major talent, and I cannot wait to see what he does next. In the meantime, pick up a copy of KRONOS RISING today; you won’t be disappointed. It is available now in a variety of formats.”

 
– Matthew Baker, Shattered Ravings
 

“On December 3, 2014, PREHISTORIC TIMES Magazine awarded Max Hawthorne’s KRONOS RISING its prestigious PIX BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD! “
 
– PREHISTORIC TIMES Magazine
 

“In a world that has become flooded with all manner of bizarre straight to TV movies, it is quite hard for a ‘monster runamuck’ story to get noticed among the Piranhacondas, Sharknados and a whole host of other ridiculously titled creature features. Indeed, ever since Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus came out in 2009 it has become a veritable race to the bottom as unskilled storytellers frantically try to cash in on the lucrative “so bad it’s good” dollar. The challenge of being spotted among the clutter is made all the more difficult when the story you are trying to share is one written on paper – a good old fashioned novel. Kronos Rising is one such story.

While it must be said that creature feature novels tend to be of a significantly higher standard than what is being churned out by the SyFy Channel et al, that isn’t exactly a glowing seal of quality when you consider just how low the bar has been set by TV movies. Just because a story has been published on paper, as opposed to via the medium of film, doesn’t mean it is any good. Indeed, there are plenty of trashy monster novels out there that are less valuable than the paper they are printed on in terms of storytelling. Thankfully though, Kronos Rising is not one of them. Kronos Rising tells he story of a prehistoric marine reptile (a pliosaur to be more specific) which has inexplicably shown up in the modern times and started terrorizing a coastal community. At first glance, said plot isn’t a whole lot different from Peter Benchley’s Jaws which was first published in 1974, albeit with a hungry reptile in place of a ‘rogue’ great white shark. However, the old saying, “It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it” springs to mind in relation to writer Max Hawthorne’s novel. In order to keep things fresh, Hawthorne uses a wide variety of interesting techniques to help Kronos Rising stand out from the crowd. Throughout the course of the book, we are treated to intermittent ‘flashback’ chapters which take place during the time of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago which, gradually, reveal clues as to how and why the mighty pliosaur has suddenly appeared in the 21st Century. There are also chapters which are written from the perspective of the beast itself which portray it as a living, breathing creature as opposed to an unrealistic monstrous eating machine. These sections elevate the pliosaur from being a simple plot device to one of the book’s main characters. While readers may not necessarily find themselves rooting for the giant predatory marine reptile, they can at least sympathise with it to an extent and understand why it does what it does.

As far as the human element is concerned, the roster of characters contains a varied assortment of people with all sorts of goals and agendas in order to keep things interesting. Outside of our two main protagonists, a well-meaning and likable police sheriff with a dark past and a feisty marine biologist, we meet everyone from corrupt politicians and big game hunters to sadistic mercenaries and morally conflicted whalers. While some of these characters do toe the line perhaps a little bit close to being what could be considered archetypes, there is enough ‘page time’ and character development to go around meaning that they feel like actual people as opposed to cookie cutter cut outs designed to act as little more than pliosaur fodder.

Of course, all the well written character development in the world would be of little use in a book about a gigantic prehistoric predator run amok in the modern times if they were not accompanied by exciting set pieces. It is in this department where Kronos Rising excels. Between high speed chases, fist fights, shoot outs and underwater battles between giant denizens of the deep, there is no shortage of action sequences to be had, with the very best ones saved for the last few chapters as the story escalates toward its epic conclusion. While there are plenty of monster stories out there that feature lots of wanton carnage and gore (with credit to Kronos Rising, it resists the temptation to go overboard with the blood n’ guts, which keeps things from becoming farcical), what sets Max Hawthorne’s novel of maritime horror apart from most modern creature features is that the author displays a sense of respect for the source material. Hawthorne has clearly put in a lot of research into his chosen topic in an attempt to make it seem as realistic as possible. While the concept of a pliosaur surviving into the modern times is unlikely at best and ludicrous at worst, Hawthorne lays out his case for it in such a way that everything seems reasonably plausible within the context of the book – a masterclass in the suspension of disbelief. Kronos Rising is reminiscent of the work of Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Congo) in that it weaves together an exciting and gripping yarn which, despite depicting fantastical subject matter, doesn’t insult the reader’s intelligence by appealing to the lowest common denominator.”

– Krank.ie Review

 

“In 1974, Peter Benchley frightened droves of beach goers and divers out of the water with one larger-than-life great white shark. Now, 40 years later, newcomer Max Hawthorne presents us with an entirely new breed of deep sea denizen . . . one that makes Jaws look like an overgrown goldfish. Behold, Kronos Rising!

This past spring has seen the rebirth of Godzilla as he stormed his way back into theaters. Next summer, Universal Studios plans to unveil its latest entry in the blockbusting Jurassic Park franchise–Jurassic World! Throw in recent releases like Cloverfield and Pacific Rim, alongside novels like Steve Alten’s Meg series, and it seems that the kaiju (basically prehistoric giant monsters) genre is far from extinct.

Hawthorne definitely demonstrates this as he unleashes an inconceivable threat that time forgot onto an unsuspecting modern world. Written in the same vein as Jaws and Meg, Kronos Rising takes every Loch Ness Monster myth and sea monster rumor up to eleven and beyond. His story deals with a fictional Florida fishing town that suddenly finds itself under siege from a creature out of time’s abyss. Identified as a surviving specimen of pliosaur, the predator wreaks havoc of primeval proportions as it lays waste to the docking marina and the fishing piers that are the town’s lifeblood, snacking on more than a handful of unlucky boaters, fishermen, and later, monster hunters along the way.

What truly makes this story hit home on an intrinsic level is the treatment Hawthorne endows his creature. He presents it as more than just a mindless eating machine. It is one of the greatest super predators in Earth’s history, able to engulf a T-rex, or a great white shark without breaking a sweat. At the same time, it’s a cold, calculating, almost sentient entity. Hawthorne doesn’t personify his creature, but he does a great job of presenting certain events from its point of view. You can almost imagine it plotting its next attack, figuring out how best to tackle its prey, human and otherwise. It adds a sense of urgency to the story.

This treatment extends to Hawthorne’s characters as well. From Jake Braddock, a sheriff with a troubled history, to Dr. Amara Takagi, a marine biologist crusading to defend all sea creatures from man’s folly, to the domineering and sociopathic Karl Von Freiling, a mercenary animal collector with a surprising connection to Amara. In addition to deciding how to deal with the primordial threat in their midst, each character brings a backstory and their own demons who they must confront, raising the tension exponentially.

Kronos Rising is no mere, everyday horror story; it is a tale that balances and combines every possible literary conflict without missing a beat or losing its purpose. And that purpose is to scare the living hell out of its readers. Be warned, if Jaws made you afraid to venture into the ocean, Kronos Rising will make you never want to go near a pool, bathtub, or spa ever again.”

 
– EXAMINER review by Akinlabi Hubbard
 

“Every once in a blue moon, a page-turning adventure novel of theatrical proportions hits the shelves, and “Kronos Rising” is the new leader of the pack. Max Hawthorne’s first major foray into the fiction arena envelopes all the elements of a major blockbuster film or network mini-series that will keep readers and fans of this genre glued to the pages. He skillfully takes his readers on an E Ticket/ “Six Flags” roller coaster ride that never stops! With the dexterity of similar genre legends such as Michael Crichton, Peter Benchley and James Patterson, new generation scribe Hawthorne sets the scene off the coast of Florida and establishes the main characters whose histories and personal dramas reveal themselves as the action escalates. Incorporating his obvious knowledge of the marine and maritime worlds, and some impressive technical science, natural history and zoology background, Hawthorne weaves a credible and believable account of the shocking and horrifying appearance of one of the prehistoric world’s apex marine predators. “Kronos Rising” definitely thrills and rises out of the water as this year’s “man vs. nature” epic tale of terror that leaves readers gasping for air through its climactic end……or, has it truly ended??!”
 
– KEVIN SASAKI, entertainer/public relations representative
 

“The book Jaws by Peter Benchley was published in 1974 and became an international bestseller, followed by the movie adaptation that became an instant cult classic and a favorite of many. Since then, some sequels have been made and many knock-off novels that play on the whole idea of a sea monster on the loose terrorizing a small town and its people.

I thought Kronos Rising would be another unrealistic example of this genre: predictable, over the top, and simply inaccurate, but the book was, in fact, a complete surprise. It is a classic setting: a small American town on the east coast, where things are simple and straightforward and haven’t changed in some time. Jake Braddock is the town sheriff, a former Olympic fencer who lost his wife in a tragic accident and has made some bad choices in his life, but now he’s on the straight and narrow and does just fine dealing with simple, small-time crimes, until that all changes. People are starting to disappear out on the water and at first it seems like there might be a man-eating shark on the loose; the evidence seems to point to something bigger, much bigger. And when an uneaten part of a rich senator’s son shows up, things really begin to heat up. The media gets involved, wanting to know what creature is behind the attacks. Braddock enlists the help of a pretty scientist who has shown up with her crew from the World Cetacean Society; she has some evidence revealing that the creature is not just big, but enormous; a surviving relic from the time of the dinosaurs known as the Kronosaurus queenslandicus. It is hard to believe, but the evidence is irrefutable. The media has a field day with this announcement, not believing them until the giant creature shows up in the harbor and wreaks havoc upon its residents. The rich senator calls in an elite group to take care of this creature, enlisting the help of Braddock and the scientist, though the sheriff knows they’re getting in way over their heads.

The characters in Kronos Rising are well developed, each with their own complicated backgrounds that have a strong bearing on their current lives. The key to a good story is conflict, and this book is full of it, as the characters come into conflict with each other, which, at times, feels a little contrived, but nevertheless makes for addictive, page-turning reading. Max Hawthorne has also done his research into marine biology and ocean life, which all helps make his characters more knowledgeable and interesting and the whole world more believable, even if there is a giant monster eating people in it. The writing is compelling and action-filled, so even though the book is well over 500 pages long, it is still an addictive read. While the last third of the book goes off the rails a little, and some of the characters become almost caricatures, overall the book is a great addition to this genre, worthy of sitting on the shelf next to Peter Benchley’s Jaws. 4.5 stars (out of 5)”

 
– Alex Telander, The San Francisco Book Review
 

“Dragons, dinosaurs, huge killer sharks–I’ve always loved monsters. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the “Meg” books by Steve Alten. Meg stands for Megalodon, a giant shark that lived during prehistoric times. It was huge, the largest carnivorous fish known to exist.It wasn’t, however, the only predator of the deep. There was Kronosaurus, a marine reptile characterized by a thick head, short neck, and outsized flippers. Its ecological niche appears to be the similar as the Great White Shark. It ate squid, turtles, fish, and smaller dinosaurs, anything that swam into its path. Remains of these creatures have been found from Australia to South America, proof that these reptiles attained an especially wide distribution. Kronosaurus ruled the seas during the Cretaceous period, but that was millions of years ago. It couldn’t possibly exist today, or could it? The oceans’ depths still remain mostly unmapped. It’s said we are more familiar with the surface of the Moon than our planet’s oceans. Maybe, just maybe, something has survived from long ago. Max Hawthorne wonders this very thing. In Kronos Rising, a small, breeding population has survived. One of these prehistoric predators rises from the depths to terrorize a coastal community that won’t be idyllic soon. A series of disappearances and horrific deaths sends waves of panic through the small town. The local sheriff begins to investigate what might be murder, but when a full-grown whale carcass surfaces, the true terror begins. Marine horror isn’t new. Peter Benchley started the modern trend with Jaws. Steve Alten gave us Meg, and now we have giant lizards gnawing at our fears. It still works. I love the genre, but it’s hard to do anything new with it. Max has managed to give me a couple surprises. Kronos is a well-written story, better than it had to be to deliver its biting horror. There are flawed heroes that are likeable. Villains that I looked forward to being eaten, and a back story that’s both feasible, and well researched, and most importantly, it’s fun.”
 
– Kevin Coolidge: Hobo’s Books, From My Shelf!
 

“Freed by chance geologic events from the refuge that saved its kind 65 million years previously, a Mesozoic horror rises to engulf a quaint East Coast Florida town. An 80-foot eating machine that’s neither fish nor mammal, the relentless beast wreaks havoc in the already-complicated lives of several disparate people: a former Olympic fencing champion turned small town sheriff, a conservationist/marine biologist and a psychotic politician. Some other Mesozoic dietary staples of this monster make cameos along the way, as well as some familiar “sea monsters” of modern oceans. In addition to the horrific predations of the unstoppable beast, several interesting themes are explored in the human drama: post-traumatic stress related to domestic abuse and alcoholism, strained family relations when members are on opposing sides of marine conservation issues and too much power leading to megalomania. This is a fun, entertaining thriller in the tradition of so many greats before it: MOBY DICK, JAWS, BEAST, the writings of Steve Alten. However, it is not derivative of those works and stands on its own merits. At 562 pages, it is not just a pulp novel, either. The characters are well-realized and help carry the story in a compelling fashion. Portions of the novel also carry you back to cataclysmic events in the Age of the Dinosaurs that are as exciting as the modern day drama. I highly recommend KRONOS RISING as a great summer read, just in time for “sea monster” season at the beach! Max Hawthorne’s debut novel is hopefully the beginning of more, equally compelling work in a similar vein in the future.”
 
– Scott Mardis – Cryptomundo.com
 

“KRONOS RISING SOON! In 1973, the late, great Peter Benchley invented the “sea monster terrorizes populace” genre of horror fiction with the novel JAWS. Benchley would successfully return to the theme with another classic, BEAST, in 1991. Lovers of horror and science fiction, especially those with an interest in cryptozoology, can’t get enough of this stuff. Now Philadelpia-based author Max Hawthorne brings us KRONOS RISING (Far From The Tree Press, LLC) on April 24, 2014. http://cryptomundo.com/bigfoot-report/kronos-rising-soon/”
– Scott Mardis – Cryptomundo.com
 

“After we previewed his upcoming book, Kronos Rising, author Max Hawthorne decided to come visit us at Krank Towers. Since the book features a prehistoric beastie, it is hardly surprising that Sean was full of questions: http://www.krank.ie/category/cul/max-hawthorne-interview-kronos-rising/ “
 
– Sean Markey – KRANK.IE
 

“From Max Hawthorne, author of the controversial book Memoirs of a Gym Rat, comes a new novel of deep terror, Kronos Rising. Thought deceased for millions of years, a legendary hunter is back on the prowl. Kronosaurus has returned and it has humanity in its sights! http://www.krank.ie/category/cul/kronos-rising/”
 
– Sean Markey – KRANK.IE