Loch is a 1994 novel by Paul Zindel, the first of his seven The Zone Unknown novels. The plot begins at Loch Ness. A 5-year-old boy named Luke Perkins is on vacation with his family when he sees the Loch Ness Monster. After this incident, everyone nicknames him "Loch".Ten years later, Loch's father, a marine biologist named Dr. Sam Perkins, takes Loch and his younger sister, Zaidee, on an expedition to search for lake monsters in Lake Alban, a small lake in the highlands of Vermont. Dr. Sam's boss is a ruthless publishing mogul named Anthony Cavenger. Cavenger is willing to do anything to capture the monsters and become famous. Cavenger's teenage daughter, Sarah, also goes to Lake Alban with Loch and Zaidee.
It is eventually revealed that the monsters are living plesiosaurs — marine reptiles thought to have become extinct 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Loch and Zaidee eventually discover a baby plesiosaur. They take care of him, and name him Wee Beastie.
This book provides examples of the following tropes:
- Artistic License Paleontology: It's once stated that plesiosaurs became extinct 10 million years ago. In reality, they became extinct 66 million years ago.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Anthony Cavenger. While not doing anything illegal (that we know of), he is absolutely ruthless, and does not care who gets hurt as long as he gets what he wants.
- Evil Cripple: Cavenger again. He walks with a cane, and is by far the most evil person in the novel.
- Mean Boss: Dr. Sam's boss, Anthony Cavenger, treats his employees in a very dictatorial manner. When one of his workers accidentally dropped a grenade into a pile of wires, he scolded the worker. This is what led to his death. Because he was too busy scolding the worker, he wasn't able to run away, and the plesiosaur killed him. He's also completely indifferent to growing number of deaths among his employees.
- Papa Wolf: The Rogue. Even gravely injured, it charges the main boat in the final attack, determined to protect its family.
- Protagonist Title: The title refers to Luke "Loch" Perkins, the main character.
- Stock Ness Monster: The original Nessie shows up at the beginning of the book, when Luke sees it in Scotland and thereafter gains his eponymous nickname. Similar creatures appear in Lake Alban.