When two authors active in skeptic organization CSICOP decide to publish a book about lake monsters it's not much of an accomplishment to correctly assume what kind of book it'll turn out to be. Skeptical analyses, critical discussions, debunking of earlier research that has often been flawed and/or incorrect, and on-site investigations and interviews.
And, well, that's exactly what Lake Monster Mysteries is all about. Throughout the book Joe Nickell and colleague Benjamin Radford presents a number of lakes in the U.S. and Canada (as well as Loch Ness in Scotland) that all claim to be the home of one or more lake monsters. The reader is presented with a short but informative background to each lake and its alleged monsters, offered details about some of the most important research to date, and is taken along with Nickell and Radford as they carry out their fieldwork and analyses of some of the most famous photographs and sightings.
Which is all both interesting and worthwhile, but to the reader who has an earlier interest in these lakes and their mysterious inhabitants the book fails to offer very much new material. However, this doesn't mean it's not a very good contribution to cryptozoological research. Nickell and Radford - who not very surprisingly come out as extremely skeptical to everyone and everything - are very efficient in their work when they point out many of the errors that precious researchers have done and later used in their own books, and it's difficult not to agree with them when they show the reader how something as mundane as a floating log or otters swimming in a straight line very easily can fool even the most experienced of observer and create the illusion that it's really a slime sea serpent cruising along the surface of the water.
It's not a very thick book though, and you'll finish it in a heartbeat. The lakes under investigation are all situated in the U.S. or Canada: Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Silver Lake, Lake Crescent, Lake George, and Lake Okanagan. True, Loch Ness also has a chapter of its own, but neither Nickell nor Radford visit the lake in person, and those mysterious lakes from the rest of the world that are mentioned at the end of the book aren't given very much attention.
Therefore "Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures" is somewhat misleading, and should have been changed to "Investigating North America's Most Elusive Creatures". Furthermore, it's sometimes easy to get the feeling that Nickell and Radford have been somewhat in too much of a hurry when dismissing the existence of the lake monsters, after having spent a day or two at the lake without seeing anything unusual and thus concluding that there's nothing unusual to be seen.
But the good outweighs the bad, and all in all Lake Monster Mysteries is a sweet read indeed. The most fascinating chapter is without a doubt the one about Lake Okanagan and its monster Ogopogo. Here the authors make a detour from the perspective of the hardcore skeptic and spend time discussing the folklore surrounding the lake, and if this had been done in the other chapters as well the final score would have been close to the highest possible.