Terry's Reviews > Deeper

Deeper by James A. Moore
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's review
Nov 10, 2010

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bookshelves: cthulhu
Read from October 30 to November 09, 2010

A late season charter is just what Captain Joe Bierden’s bank account needs, even if it means going to Golden Cove. He’s not sure what happened there, but it was enough to make the city change its name from Innsmouth. Anyway, Dr. Ward’s excursion to map the caves off the coast seems harmless and the parapsychologists interested in spotting one of the region’s fabled ghost ships are nice enough. But doom comes to the Isabella’s Dreams, when Dr. Ward’s group captures a fish man living in the caves and they take him inland for study.

Deeper by James A. Moore revisits the cursed town H.P. Lovecraft created in The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Unlike the novella, which focused more on the townsfolk, Moore pits his characters against the Deep Ones – fish men – living in the caves beneath Devil’s Reef. Imbued with great physical strength, horrifying anatomy and mental powers, they make for terrifying opponents. Equally disturbing are the ghost encounters which keep happening, from glimpses of sailing ships to warnings from the mouths of waterlogged corpses.

All of which makes Deeper a fun read, but I think Moore missed a few opportunities. First, there’s never a sense that the characters are trapped. After one or two horrific run-ins, I think Captain Joe would have been fine cancelling the trip and issuing refunds as needed. Second, the book takes a detour into action horror at the end, making the horror build-up dissolve in a burst of gunfire. Finally, the book ends on an unresolved plot point which, if it doesn’t lead to a sequel, just seems superfluous.

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