And then, BAM! I spotted it. The Loch by Steve Alten.
I was not disappointed, for the most part. The story was an interesting and fantastic take on the Lochness monster myth. Alten used the basic theories and legends, but weaved them in with modern flawed characters and a well developed plot.
There was a bit of...fat...that dragged out the story at points. Once I got the feel of his writing style I could spot those parts and skip without remorse. I really, really loved his characters. It is a strength that I, as a writer, can't help but envy. Envy in a good way. It gives me insight into the "right way" and urges me to strive for that quality.
What I also liked was the little vignettes in between chapters. They were small enough not to distract and tied to the theme so well they added another layer of realism and connection.
Good job to Steve Alten on a great book. I will be on the lookout for other works of his.
Good writing all!