Books: Overbite

JAWS

by PETER BENCHLEY 311 pages. Doubleday. $6.95.

The jaws in question—vast, inexorable, connected not to a mentality but to an appetite—are those of cliche and crude literary calculation. The man pulling the string that makes the cruel teeth clack together is First Novelist Peter Benchley, 33, son of Writer Nathaniel Benchley and a grandson of the great funnyman Robert Benchley.

It is Benchley's fictional conceit that a Great White Shark of mythic size and ferocity has veered out of its normal deepwater territory and begun to pot-hunt off the swimming beach at Amity, L.I. The creature kills a young woman who is swimming...

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