Hitchcock combined with the afraid-of-the-dark monster horror.

5 out of 5 stars

I remember reading a great quote from Alfred Hitchcock about the difference between ‘surprise and ‘suspense’. He made the distinction that while a bomb exploding in your story would be good for fifteen seconds of surprise, having the audience know there was a bomb set to explode but the main characters didn’t, was good for prolonged suspense. Mira Grant took this concept to an artful level in this story.

Set in a period just a few years into the future, from the beginning we, the listener, know there are mermaids. They are real. They are not like the stories. They are dangerous. This isn’t a spoiler, it is the beginning of the story. From the onset, the monster, the thing to be afraid of, is shown to the listener. Then we are held captive knowing it is real while the characters do not.

The story begins with an account of a ship found adrift with no souls on board, but plenty of footage of the creatures. Immediately, it is referred to by the public as a hoax because this ship went in search of the mythic creatures as a publicity stunt. An entertainment company financed the voyage with the hopes that their next movie endeavor would have the credibility to show the real terrors of the deep. After the mysterious loss of the passengers and crew of that ship several years earlier, in an attempt to regain some public image, they set sail again for Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. However, this time they opted to bring a large cadre of scientists to study the creatures that only a few believed to be real, alongside their cameras to capture the evidence they wanted to vindicate themselves. It wasn’t long before they discovered just how real they actually were.

Mira Grant showed her skill for suspense and pacing in this story. Even though we the listeners knew the monsters were real from the beginning, we still felt the tension rise whenever the darkness loomed. Whenever a seemingly innocent event would turn to a violent one, we would react. It takes a deft hand to write scenes like this and Grant showed that she can wield it well.

The narration by Christine Lakin was fluid, engaging, and completely in tone for the characters, scenes, and atmosphere. The subtle changes in voice to each character brought a delineation that served to create distinct characteristics that brought depth to their actions and words. In fact, the narration was so flawless that there were many times I was so lost in the scene that I forgot it was a single narrator and not multiples.

I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for the nail-biting tension of a classic Hitchcock story combined with the afraid-of-the-dark love of a good monster horror.

Book Description:

by Mira Grant
Narrator: Christine Lakin
Published by Hachette Audio Genres: Fantasy
Also by this author: All the Pretty Little Horses, Coming To You Live, Into the Drowning Deep, Kingdom of Needle and Bone

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