I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling andM.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.
This week I'm reviewing Dead in the Water, by Nancy Holder.
I can't believe it's been over a month since I did one of these. Whoops!
Happily, I can say this was another one I enjoyed. The opening section was written in second person and detailed what it was like to drown. An intense introduction to a story about a group of people whose ship goes down, and who are picked up by a boat that is somehow...wrong.
There's no new ground broken with this story, but the characters are interesting, their voices easily distinguishable. I cared about a few of the characters (others I was indifferent toward, some I wanted to cease and desist). Donna, a female cop, was the character I was most invested in, and the voice that began to prevail as we got deeper into the story. The pacing was good. The peril was serious. And no one was safe from the Big Bad. No one.
There were some good creepy moments, and the tension was well done. Plus, it's a bit of a roller coaster, though I can't say how, because it would give things away. So much hope and peril wrapped up together.
A few times it seemed overwritten, the details a mite too dramatic. There were voice overs, of a sort, that waffled between intriguing and too much. But I was involved enough that these didn't distract me much from the story.
This was a quick read for me, because I wanted to see how it would wrap up for a couple of the characters, and how they would escape.
My new rankings:
1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
5. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
6. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
7. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
8. Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror (Ellen Datlow)
9. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
10. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
11. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
12. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
13. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
14. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
15. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
16. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
17. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury)
18. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
19. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
20. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
21. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell)
22. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
I have no idea what the next book will be, but I just bought several, so we'll see what speaks to me.
Ever read this? Or anything by Nancy Holder? What did you think?
May you find your Muse.