Thursday, June 12, 2008


One of the signature stories of H.P. Lovecraft’s career (although he reportedly thought little of it) was The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It is the story of a man who visits a coastal New England town, where he discovers the residents worship a being called Dagon, and have intermarried with strange creatures from the sea, which look like part-man, part-fish, and part-frog. The story ends with a government raid, and the destruction of the small town. In the time since its publication, a number of authors have tried their hand at exploring the Innsmouth story, including two anthologies edited by Stephen Jones, and it has been loosely adapted to film as the movie Dagon.

James A. Moore’s latest book, Deeper, also offers a continuation of the Innsmouth story. Ship’s Captain Joe Bierden is offered a lucrative charter to transport a group of scientific researchers and parapsychologists to Golden Cove, where the scientists will probe a series of underground caves, while the parapsychologists investigate rumors of ghost ships in the harbor. It is gradually revealed that Golden cove was built on the site of the destroyed Innsmouth, and whatever creatures were in the sea, remain there. The divers soon encounter these vicious denizens of the deep, and conflict arises between the captain (the book is told from the captain’s point of view), who wants to ensure the safety of those on the ship, and the scientists, bent on making a great discovery. In the end, great sacrifices will be made.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for tales of horror at sea, and Moore does a great job with this one. It moved quickly, and you really cared for the characters who were in danger of becoming dinner for the sea creatures. I found the story to be very cinematic, much more so than most novels, and think it would make a great horror movie if placed in capable hands.

Two minor quibbles, neither really affecting my feelings toward the book: I thought the revelation about Joe’s father-in-law came out of the blue, and it would have been good to have been introduced earlier, and I thought part of the climax (involving the ghosts) was a bit of the old deus ex machina. Still, highly recommended.


Matt Cowan said...

Thanks for the review Kent. I thought this book looked very interesting when I heard about it and from your review it sound like a good one.

KentAllard said...

I enjoyed the heck out of it, but I fell in love with the movie The Creature From The Black Lagoon at an early age.

James A. Moore said...

Well, color me extremely flattered, Kent! Thank you very kindly!

Jim Moore

James A. Moore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KentAllard said...

Thank you for writing Deeper. I don't think I'll be able to hold off on reading Harvest Moon until October as I had planned.