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In his entertaining adventure-in-whale-researching, Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Nathan Quinn, a prominent marine biologist, has been conducting studies in Hawaii for years trying to unravel the secret of why humpback whales sing. During a typical day of data gathering, Nate believes his mind is failing: the subject whale has "Bite Me" scrawled across its tail. Events become even stranger as the self-proclaimed "action nerds," Nate, photographer Clay, their research assistant Amy, and Kona, a white Rasta (a Jewish kid from New Jersey), encounter sabotage to their data and equipment. They also observe increasingly bizarre whale behavior, including a phone call from the whale to their wealthy sponsor to ask that Nate bring it a hot pastrami and Swiss on rye, and discover both a thriving underwater city and the secret to what happened to Amelia Earhart.
Thoughtful, irreverent, and often hilarious, Moore has crafted a tale that contains a bit of the saga of declining whale populations due to hunting and habitat destruction, as well as his over-the-top, decadent wit as applied to scientific methodology and professional jealousies. Moore notes a pasty, rival scientist "looked like Death out for his after-dinner stroll before a busy night of e-mailing heart attacks and tumors to a few million lucky winners," and that killer whales (which are all named Kevin), are "just four tons of doofus dressed up like a police car." Smart, sincere, and a whale of a story, Fluke is terrific. --Michael Ferch [via]