Let's face it. About 75 percent of the world is covered in water - and of that water nearly 97 percent of it can be found in the sea. Maritimers will tell you that there is a story for every wave that has ever washed upon the shoreline. Here are seven of them.
"In the Dark and the Deep" offers a very haunting yarn of World War 2 convoy duty and a sailor who made and kept a terrible bargain.
"Harry's Mermaid" introduces you to a group of homeless men who catch something that MIGHT be a mermaid. If that doesn't tell you enough about this story just try and imagine what Steinbeck's Cannery Row would read like if it had been written by HP Lovecraft.
"I Know Why the Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt" is a tale of an Okinawa-based Japanese Air Force suicide pilot and his encounter with a sea monster - of sorts.
"Finbar's Story" is a dark fantasy tale of the deeper currents that eddy and flow within the deep quiet currents of a man's cold heart.
"The Woman Who Lost Her Tooth From Laughing Too Loudly at the Sea" is a quiet little fable of salt water, tears, and regret.
"Between You-Know-Who and the Deep Dark Blue" is a story of the last bargain on earth.
This collection begins with a bargain and ends with a bargain. Sounds like a heck of a bargain to me.
What folks are saying about Steve Vernon's writing:
"If Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch had a three-way sex romp in a hot tub, and then a team of scientists came in and filtered out the water and mixed the leftover DNA into a test tube, the resulting genetic experiment would most likely grow up into Steve Vernon." (<i>Bookgasm</i>) "Steve Vernon is something of an anomaly in the world of horror literature. He's one of the freshest new voices in the genre although his career has spanned twenty years. Writing with a rare swagger and confidence, Steve Vernon can lead his readers through an entire gamut of emotions from outright fear and repulsion to pity and laughter." (<i>Cemetery Dance</i>)
Steve Vernon can really smack out some short stories. I was first introduced to his work via Kelpie Dreams, followed by Kelpie Snow, and Harry's Mermaid (which is in this book). I also read his novella, Rueful Regret, and I decided that he is, simply put, a great writer. He must have a deep and abiding love of the sea, because he writes about it alot. Which is good for us as readers, because he knows how to write.
Out of all the stories, I think my favorite was In the Dark and the Deep, but the others are all good, too. Like I said, I had read Harry's Mermaid, and I also enjoyed I Know Why the Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt and the Woman who lost her tooth! It really is hard to pick out any single best story. These aren't "scary" tales, but they are creepy, and you will think about them for some time afterwards, and you won't look at the ocean the same way again. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
Stephen Richard Planalp does a great job narrating. He has tone that really sets a mood, and he plays the characters well, providing each a voice distinct and unique. He knows how to sell a story, and really makes you feel the events (like getting swallowed alive).
This is a fun collection of weird and creepy sea stories that will provide a perfect way to spend a few hours.
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