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The Deep

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2015)
From the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down.…old-school horror at its best”—comes this utterly terrifying novel where The Abyss meets The Shining.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

394 pages, Hardcover

First published January 13, 2015

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About the author

Nick Cutter

18 books5,119 followers
Hello Everybody!

I've been asked to set this up by The Powers That Be, and I'm more than happy to, although I can't really say much about myself seeing as Nick Cutter doesn't exactly exist—he's a pen name. A cool, tough pen name! Your mileage will vary on whether you agree, but that was the thinking. Horror writers should have crisp, punchy names. Stephen King. Clive Barker. Nick Cutter. Not that I'm putting myself in their league, no way no how, but I'm just saying that was the idea behind the name.

Personally, I wanted to be known as Lemondrop Pennyfeather, but that suggested nom de plume was cruelly stricken down.

Aaaanywhoo, I've written this book, The Troop. Do you like horror books? Do you like Boy Scouts (not in a weird, Canteen-Boyish way, but in a nostalgic way)? Do you like seeing said Boy Scouts confront a vicious enemy on an isolated Island off the coast of Prince Edward Island? If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you may enjoy this book.

As for me: I've written a few other books under another name (the one my parents gave me). A few story collections, a few novels. One of them even got turned into a movie. I've written for magazines and newspapers, too. I cobble together a living with my pen, is what I'm trying to say—by hook or by crook. It's a lean living sometimes, but it's by and large an enjoyable one.

I live in Toronto with my fiancee and our baby boy, Nick ... so, yeah, the pen name is a little bit of an honorific for my son, too; we'll see, in time, if he thinks that was such a hot idea!

If you have any questions or want to know more, please shoot me a question. I'm pretty good about responding.

Nick Cutter
(but not really)

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5 stars
3,850 (16%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,015 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
265 reviews79.6k followers
December 8, 2020
i hope nick cutter is prepared to pay for all the fucking therapy im gonna need bc of this book
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
June 23, 2018
okay, so the back of this book claims it is like The Abyss meets The Shining, and on the one hand, you might think to yourself "yeah, well it's a horror book that takes place under the sea - pretty lazy comparison, that." but it's actually a perfect comparison, and one which goes beyond the obvious surface-similarities. this book is just classic horror writing. by which i mean classic MODERN horror writing, not that algernon blackwood stuff that relies too much on half-seen apparitions and insinuation. this one reminded me in all the right ways of it, with some shades of misery and also a little bit of the thing. it's a wonderfully self-contained horror story that uses psychological elements like claustrophobia, isolation, and paranoia in conjunction with its more supernatural elements in order to hit the reader from all possible angles simultaneously. and it is very effective.

apart from the flashbacks, it all takes place 8 miles below the ocean, where even without the paranormal creeping in, there are so many natural things that can go wrong. you know you're in a scary place when these terrifying-looking viperfish are the least of your worries:

if you read The Troop and you were all "ewww too violent!!" or "oh no, the animals!!" back away slowly from this one, because it's both more of the same and MORE of the same. it's not going to pull its punches just because you like puppies and mousies. i like those things, too, but it's not much of a horror novel if no one gets hurt, yeah? and this one will come to get you where you live. i mean, true - it takes place 8 miles beneath the ocean, which is probably not actually where you live, but it does that more insidiously-scary thing in its flashbacks that stephen king is so good at especially in it, which is to remind you of how fucking terrifying childhood was. of how the thing in the closet was completely real and you were so small and no one was on your side. this book will bring you back to that point where anything could happen in the dark.

the only disappointment i had with this book is that we didn't get more about the 'gets - the plague that inspires the whole undersea research situation in the first place. because that's what fascinated me from the beginning - the symptoms of the plague that had me rapid-fire self-diagnosing:

It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure.

because i know i have that disease.

and i would be perfectly willing to read a companion-book to this one that focused on what was happening on the surface either before or during this book, so if that was ever up for debate, know that i would heartily approve.

but this book?? fantastic, chilling stuff.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,540 reviews9,835 followers
May 16, 2023
**2.5-stars rounded up**

I'm emotionally exhausted. Unfortunately, my friends, I don't mean that in a good way.

This book was such a stressful experience for me; I just couldn't relax into it.

The Deep is my second Cutter novel. The first I read was The Troop, which I easily gave 5-glowing stars.

This one was much more difficult for me to get into and stay interested. Some of the things I did enjoy were the basic premise, the overall claustrophobic feel, and the Trieste itself.

I loved how Cutter made the Trieste feel like a character in and of itself, which reminded me of how The Overlook Hotel feels in The Shining.

There's no denying that Cutter has the ability to write some creepy-ass stuff. There were multiple times in this where 'monster' type entities gave me the complete heebie-jeebies.

That is what I am down for. Those moments were fantastic.

However, this being said, other aspects of this story didn't work for me at all.

If you follow any of my reviews or blog, you may know that I have a really, really difficult time reading anything where animals are harmed, killed or mistreated.

Although in The Troop, there were a few passages I had to skim over, rather than actually read, due to graphic animal content, it was a sprinkling here and there.

This one had quite a bit more. If you are like me and sensitive at all to that type of content, tread with caution.

I was so worried about the dog in this story, literally the WHOLE TIME, that it made it impossible for me to enjoy it.

It was a constant source of anxiety. There I was, sitting with my dog, reading with this incredible sense of foreboding. I just didn't like it.

I know this is a personal taste issue and may affect others completely differently, or not at all. That is completely fine.

Besides the animal issue, let's discuss one of the main characters, Clayton.

I hated Clayton with every single fiber of my being. And while I do not need to like every character, any character, actually, this went above and beyond.

I'm talking, he is just a terrible, horrible human being that I would rate right up there with Professor Umbridge as one of my most hated characters of all time.

There was not one redeeming quality about him and if I were his brother, I would never have even bothered going to the Trieste in the first place.

However, I understand that would have made a pretty short, and vastly less compelling story:

Clayton: 'Luke, come, Luke. I need you.'

Me: 'No.'


Profile Image for Zain.
1,381 reviews140 followers
May 20, 2023
I’m No Scaredy-Cat, But…

I would call this book a psychological horror story. Let me begin.

Lucas is turned off from living. He’s been this way since his son mysteriously disappeared, many years ago.

There is something wrong going on with the people of earth. They are losing their memories. His older brother, who is a genius, is working on trying to help solve the problem.

He is working on a research vessel, eight miles under the sea. When the station is no longer responsive, Lucas is called upon to get down there and see what is happening and get his brother and the other scientists to return.

The atmosphere is disheartening. The station is dark and daunting and dingy. It’s horrific!

It looks and breathes as though it is dreamlike and delusory and deceitful. It plays with your mind.

Is it alive? Is it living? Is someone there? Are there monsters? Is that my son? Do I care?

Will Lucas complete his goal? Will there be a happy ending? Will anyone live to find out? I’m horrified…

Highly recommended.

Five horrifying stars. ✨✨✨✨✨
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
May 5, 2015
When I first saw this book. I hit request button faster than fat girl can grab up a cake (I resemble that remark)..and then Netgalley you deny me!!! ARGGGG
Then I asked the question.....
Who do I gotta sleep with to get this dang book?

I figured hooking for books hasn't been invented yet. I gave it my all.

Then, I finally got my grubby little hands on a copy of this book. Why do I do this to myself??!!!
I hate the frigging ocean and deep water!! It's one of my biggest fears. My dumb ass just needs that scare factor so I read this book.

Luke gets the message that his weirdo genius brother Clayton needs him. Clayton is 8 flipping miles under the sea at a lab called the Trieste.
He is working on a cure for the 'Gets. A plague that is sweeping and killing most of the country. You start not remembering little stuff, then the bigger stuff, then you just forget how your body functions and you croak.
A substance called "Ambrosia" has been discovered on the bottom of the ocean and it is the wonder thing of the day. It could be a cure for just about anything attacking mankind.

There is a specific depth you'll hit where the soul finds it impossible to harmonize with it's surroundings.

Luke heads down in the ocean to see what brother dearest is up too.
Fuck that. Brother and man-kind would be on their own if they expected me to go down that deep. It's deeper than any organism can survive. It's dark. I HATE DEEP AND DARK!!!!!

The first part of this book was the better part for me. Once they got into Trieste and realized how bonkers everyone down there was, except for the dog. I kinda got lost in the whoo-whoo part of the story. I will have frigging nightmares though so Nick Cutter did his job well.

The water wasn't the same down here.
Water is what runs out of our kitchen taps or a playground drinking fountain. It fills bathtubs and pools and yes, of course, the ocean- but at a certain depth, water becomes a barrier from all you remember, all you think you know.
You're trapped within it, a plaything of it.
Focus erodes. your thoughts mutate. The pressure.
The pressure.
Profile Image for 11811 (Eleven).
662 reviews139 followers
February 12, 2015
There were so many things wrong with this book. My review will be equally messy because I'm still mad and I can't get this down in an orderly manner but I'm not a writer so I'm excused.

To the author: This is my longest negative review ever. You emotionally instigated me. That counts for something. I loved The Troop and plan to read whatever you write next. With that said, here comes the pain! (in no particular order)

As far as the comparisons to The Thing, Alien, and The Abyss, I would say this successfully rips off all three without adding anything new to the spirit of those films.

The Good:
Ania Ahlborn blurbing on the cover alongside Stephen King, Scott Smith, and other Names. I've enjoyed watching her skyrocket to the top since she wrote Seed just a few years ago. You go girl.

The Rest:
I didn't care about any of the characters. By the halfway point I wanted them all to die.

--The flashback scenes, roughly half of the content, were by and large completely unnecessary. They were also incredibly boring and had so little to do with the plot is was like reading two entirely different tales in tandem for no particular reason other than page-count-stuffing until the author tried to conveniently make sense of it all at the last minute and failed.

--The Dr. Toy predicament. Ah, Dr. Toy. This is where all hopes of suspension of disbelief went right down the ol' shitter for me. The following is something that could be in a book trailer if there was one but I'll mark it as a spoiler just in case so nobody freaks out on me. Seriously though, I think you can check it without losing anything from the reading experience:

This drove me nuts. I just couldn't let it go for the remaining ~60% of the novel. If anyone thinks that neutralizing the guy with the knife is a secondary priority, feel free to comment below.

--If this were written as wisdom literature, we would all be doomed. At one point someone allegedly intelligent says something in an if/then context concerning "if Satan could do A then God could do B." There are so many 'ifs' in that equation that the question itself is not even worth asking. It defies logic and I have to label it as The Laziest Philosophical Question Ever Asked Since the Dawn of Mankind.

--There were other wisdom nuggets to be found and I won't go into them all but a personal favorite was "The smartest people were too often the stupidest." That's right; Stick that in your fortune cookie!

-Writers should no longer be allowed to say that someone "was shaking and it had nothing to do with the cold." Enough said.

--Getting back to suspension of disbelief, I enjoyed the following quotes from the book. Yeah, I highlight a lot.

"It seems crazy but-"
"None of this makes any sense."
"This is not really happening."
"The worst mistake you can make is to think it's idiotic." (I love that one)
"That may be the stupidest thing you've ever said."
"Stop questioning any of it."
"These things happen every day." (Ha!)

I'll stop there with the ironic quotes.

--For character building a mad scientist, see Stephen King's revival. He handles it masterfully. The guy in this book was more like a cartoon of a mad scientist. The immaturity inherent to every interaction he had with his brother was embarrassing and another one of the things I had trouble believing. I'm trying to picture someone like Einstein or even a high school graduate behaving that way and I'm drawing a blank. In short, the dialogue was dumb.

--John Carpenter's The Thing is sacred ground.

This did have some genuine moments of horror that were well written, gross, and enjoyable so I'm bumping this one up to 1.5 stars.

/end rant
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,774 followers
September 26, 2020
I enjoyed the story, thought the characters were well developed, with a few twists that I didn’t correctly anticipate. If you like body horror, you’ll enjoy The Deep. Unsure how I felt about the ending, left me a little unsatisfied, and ultimately the difference between a 3 and 4 star rating.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,933 reviews10.6k followers
July 16, 2015
While a disease called The 'Gets ravages the surface world, a substance that may be the cure is being researched at an installation on the floor of the Marianas Trench. When one of the scientists requests his brother's help just before the communication system dies, Luke has no choice but to descend to the unknown depths and confront horrors he cannot imagine...

I got this from Netgalley.

That was one harrowing read. I thought Nick Cutter couldn't top The Troop. I was wrong. Not only did he top The Troop, he sunk it's feet in cement and dropped it in the deepest part of the ocean.

The Deep taps into man's fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, and fear of being alone. When Luke Ronnick descends to the ocean's bottom in a submersible, he's also slowly descending into madness.

I'm almost at a loss as to how to describe this book. It's a claustrophobic nightmare of one man's sanity unraveling when confronted with an alien horror eight miles below the ocean's surface. It took me forever to get through because I could only handle so much at a time. It reminds me of John Carpenter's The Thing and James Cameron's The Abyss, with some Stephen King thrown in.

I don't know what was worse: the creepy ass flashbacks, Luke's brother Clayton, or the alien horror that lurks in the deep.

Nick Cutter cuts very deep. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,977 followers
February 9, 2017
Well now! It looks like I've found my next favorite Horror author!

It has modern sensibilities and old-school terror and gross-out all wrapped up in one shiny underwater package and a really bad mom.

Say what?

The psychological horror, from the flashbacks of a horrible mom and the losing of his kid and the dawning realization of what he's *now* going through kept pace with the sheer physical horror of the story. The pacing was pitch-perfect. The gross-outs were creepy as hell and utterly delightful. *happy dance*

I was Scared. *happy dance*

That doesn't happen all that much anymore. I've read a lot of horror. But this one? VERY NICE.

There's a great balance of discovery and awe and undersea danger and especially a long-term hope when it comes to the possible cure for the 'gets. (For'gets. A plague on the surface.) It goes ooooh so nice with his nightmares and the way he tries to hold on to a version of reality as something really deep and sinister rises up out of the deep in the actual ocean and his subconscious, too. I kept in step with the characters all the way.

I'll never look at bees in quite the same way. Oh, yeah, and perhaps I shouldn't touch random muck on walls, either. :) And poor doggy. ; ;

I think it's time to round up all his books and do a marathon. :)
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,565 followers
February 13, 2020
No, Nick Cutter: writing a stellar first novel (& perennial The Ruins doppelganger) THE TROOP does NOT guarantee you a successful second one. This is very low rate, a messy mashup of Micheal Crichton's Sphere, Stephen King's It, myriad Outbreak movies, as well as any other given horror motif promoting character development. I am just mega disappointed by this writer I once thought so promising! Will I read his third book, though? Yup!!
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews525 followers
September 12, 2017
I may be late to the party but there was never any doubt that I would take the plunge.

Nick Cutter first caught my attention with The Troop.  That book had me so creeped out that I knew I would pick up anything else he wrote without hesitation.

And so ....

There is a radical new disease plaguing humanity called The Gets.  No-one is sure how it is spread and there is no cure in sight.  It starts out as a series of small round sores and soon it begins to affect your memory.  Little things at first, like where you left your keys, but trust me, things get so much worse quickly until soon you forget to eat and your heart forgets to pump.

Luke, our protagonist, has a genius brother, Clayton, who is currently conducting research  for a possible cure eight miles beneath the surface of the Pacific, down deep in Marianas Trench.  The problem is that the scientists stationed in the underwater research lab called the Trieste have been incommunicado and now one of them has surfaced in a not so pretty state.  The last communication that the on surface team  received came from Clayton, urging his brother Luke to come on down.

Way down there in the deep, a new substance, called ambrosia has been discovered.  Early observations inspire hope amongst the researchers that this ambrosia may well hold the answer to curing The Gets.  But this substance is alive and all of its properties have not yet been fully vetted.  Some disquieting concerns have already materialized.

And so it is that Luke, a veterinarian, finds himself teamed with Lieutenant Commander Alice Sykes who is the pilot of the submarine that is going to take them down to the trench where the Trieste is.

And this is where the fear really starts to kick in,   Imagine the pressure, with eight miles of water on top of you and the potential for claustrophobia, never mind the mind numbing absolute dark and  the ever growing paranoia of something going awry, either structurally or mechanically.   Let's face it when things start to go bump in the night, there is no easy or quick escape.  You are stuck there.

When Luke and Alice arrive only two scientists remain in the Trieste and one of them has clearly gone mad.  Luke’s brother, genius though he may be, does not play well with others.  Things begin to unravel quickly and Cutter pumps up the volume with the psychological fears inherent in people trapped under such conditions.

 Luke brings  his own burdens with him: His little boy disappeared one day when they were playing hide and seek in the woods.  He has yet to be found. Not to mention his own childhood trauma that stems from a mother straight from hell and a brilliant yet troubled brother who conducts unsettling experiments in the basement.   

They all of them, harbour their own fears and insecurities.  Add enough paranormal elements to further exploit this emotional turmoil and the results are:

All the better to scare you with my dear, way down here in The Deep.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,839 followers
December 30, 2016
I made it through the whole year with nothing less than 2 stars, then in December I have had two 1 star books. Both were supposed to be horror, but both were just horrible.

I may have gone 2 stars on this one for some creativity, but my hopes were too high after the Troop.

This book was a mess. It had things that could be plot points, but no truly identifiable plot. The gore in it was for the sake of gore and often had very little, if any, context with the rest of what was going on. The way the descriptions were written, I often found myself lost as to what was actually going on.

I see many positive reviews for this title, so it may work for you. But for me, I am just glad it is over. It was not how I was hoping to end my literary adventures in 2016.
Profile Image for Michael Jensen.
Author 4 books136 followers
January 23, 2015
This book was just terrible for a whole host of reasons.

I'll start by saying that while Cutter's first book, The Troop, wasn't a perfect book, it was at least a decent one that left me curious to see what the author would come up with next. Let's just say I'm in no way curious about Cutter's third book. Frankly, you couldn't pay me to read it after slogging through The Deep.

Here are my problems with The Deep.

1) The Characters

What worked about The Troop was that it had characters you cared about. That seems like a pretty crucial aspect of a horror book because if you don't care about the characters, then no matter how horrible the things are that happen to them then, well, it isn't very horrifying IMHO. (Yes, there are exceptions to the rule where you aren't supposed to care about the characters. This isn't one of them.)

In The Troop, Cutter managed to get us invested in the fate of the boys trapped on that island. They were kind, smart, scrappy, selfish, brave and even evil in one case. When horrible things happened to them, we cared and felt terrible for them. In that way, The Troop was very Stephen King-like for me.

Unfortunately, The Deep barely has characters much less ones I cared about when the horrible things happened to them. In fact, the book only has one character that we ever really get to know -- Luke -- and he isn't terribly interesting or memorable or clever.

Luke mostly just yammers on about how awful it is being eight miles under the surface of the ocean, how much pressure he feels, how he feels like he's losing his mind. Oh, and he dreams about this fat, evil mother. She's really, really fat by the way. This fact is pounded into the reader's brain. (He also hears his fat, evil mother in his mind, sort of a fat, evil Greek Chorus. It gets old. Fast.) Luke's defining characteristic is that his five year old son disappeared in a park years ago and Luke has never recovered from that.

Then there is Clayton, Luke's older brother, and his defining and really only characteristic is that he's a sociopath who only cares about science. When we see him, it's just so he can be superior to his brother and act smug and provide some plot exposition. Frankly, even as a sociopath he isn't a very interesting one.

Finally there is Al, a woman who pilots the submersible that takes down to the Mariana Trench where The Deep is set. Her defining characteristic? Um, well, she's a woman, I guess. We barely see her and she only shows up to move what little plot the book has along. When she meets her end, you barely notice or care.

There are also a couple of other scientists involved but we barely see them which leads to more not caring.

Finally, there is LB, the dog. Him I at least cared about a little because, well, he's a dog.

2) The Plot

Scientists are at the bottom of the ocean looking for a cure to a disease called the 'Gets (short for Forgets). Don't worry about knowing anymore since the Gets since it doesn't really matter and is never explained. The scientists are looking for a miracle substance called Ambrosia that can cure pretty much anything except boredom for the reader. What is Ambrosia exactly? Where does it come from? Don't ask because you won't find out except some vague allusions toward the end.

All you really need to know about the plot is that from the moment Luke sets foot on the Trieste, the undersea lab where his brother is working with other scientists on Ambrosia, he starts to see and hear things. Strange noises, strange sounds, lots of slithering and slick things sliding around the corridors, especially in the dark. But he'll rarely see anything. Yawn.

This is going to go on the entire book and will get very tiresome.

There is no build up in The Deep. Things are batsh*t nuts from the get go. The problem with this is that I pretty quickly got numbed to the nuttiness and since we learned very little about what caused the nuttiness -- the pressure of the ocean, the PRESSURE! THE PRESSURE -- it isn't interesting.

Yes there are plenty of descriptions of gross things, but when you don't care about the characters, the gross things are far less interesting. Writing about gross things is easy. See this book for that. Writing about characters you care about is a lot harder. See Stephen King for those.

The book also features tons of flashbacks to a great evil that had been stalking Luke as a boy and

The book jacket acknowledges that The Deep borrows from The Abyss and The Shining, and others have noted it all uses elements of The Thing and Aliens. Which is fine, nothing new under the sun, etc, etc. But if you're going to borrow from those classics, you'd think that the result would be at least a little interesting.

Sadly, it isn't.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,419 followers
January 18, 2015

***Now Available!***

Save your last breath to scream

I've been a lifelong fan of horror and the older I get, it seems to me the harder it's getting to scare me and to get my hands on the good stuff. One positive thing about this sad development is that it's forced me to venture out into other genres and try new things and find new loves. My first love however -- my one true love -- will always remain horror. It's in my DNA (literally probably because my parents were huge fans of things going bump in the night). I was weaned on the stuff, and on the stuff I shall die.

Why am I rambling thus? For a fan with such an unquenchable appetite for these matters, discovering newcomer Nick Cutter is the equivalent of venturing to the end of the rainbow and having a leprechaun hand you over his pot of gold. I'm so gobsmacked and excited by my good fortune (our good fortune) that I'm still in a bit of a dizzy fangirl spin. The only thing that could make this any better would be if this discovery heralded an ushering in of a whole new Golden Age for horror the likes of which not seen since the '80s. Yes? Please? C'mon now!

Well, whatever the case, Nick Cutter is doing his part penning two terrifying tales in two years, written to make grown women scream and grown men wet their pants. He's got the horror cred down; you don't have to read him too closely to see that he too was weaned on the stuff and inside his writer's heart beats the heart of a horror geek.

Reading The Deep I was put through quite the mental and emotional ringer. Between its covers some of my most vulnerable pulse points of fear were ruthlessly exploited. I was reminded of Sphere, The Thing, Event Horizon, and Alien. There's body horror that's going to remind you of early Cronenberg. And just when things start to feel familiar and you think you have a handle on it all, Cutter veers the story off into an angle of Weird that's psychologically trippy and very Lovecraftian in execution. And while this story is going to remind you of a lot of other things, it is still going to shock you and lay you down and have its way with you.

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for a talented author who can write a mean literary novel and win prizes for them. But I'm selfish and insatiable. Now that he's ventured over to the dark side I want him to stay here and to play here forever, and ever and ever. Yeah, I'm a smitten kitten alright.

A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my review of Nick Cutter's debut fright fest -- The Troop.

I also shared a Q&A with the author over on my blog. Check it out here.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,450 reviews7,561 followers
January 13, 2015

Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I’m sure plenty of you will disagree with this 5 Star rating come January, but Honey Badger don’t give a shit so she’s giving it all 5.

“There is a specific depth you’ll hit where the soul finds it impossible to harmonize with its surroundings.

It’s not the darkness . . . It’s not the vast silence or emptiness or the absence of any life-forms he can draw warmth or certainty from . . . It’s not the pressure. It’s not even the fear of death that constantly nibbles at the edge of his mind.

It’s the sense of unreality. This out-of-body feeling that you’ve stepped away from the path your species has always tread. Things become dreamlike, essential, Your mind, seeking solace in the familiar, retreats to those things you understand, but those things become so much harder to grasp.”

“That's what she is, the Queen King of Refuse. So bow down to her him if you want, bow to her him. Bow to the Queen King of Slime, the Queen King of Filth, the Queen King of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.”

Yes, Nick Cutter has become the King of all things vile as far as I’m concerned and I will gladly bow down to him.

The blurb describes The Deep as a combination of The Abyss and The Shining. I hate when publishers write crap like that . . . so here, let me do it myself ; ) I thought The Deep was more like Sphere (don’t hate – go back and re-read or re-watch it, it’s good) meets It. There is definitely a “we all float down here” element to this story – there’s even a delightful little chapter about clowns *shudder*.

That being said, there are plenty of reviews out there that complain about the familiarity of the book, not only when it comes to being “inspired,” if you will, by well-known stories (my opinion? imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). Sure there have been other tales about “the deep” . . .

(okay, maybe that last one is a stretch, but you get the picture)

Trust me when I say Nick Cutter puts a brand new spin on everything he writes, and if anything, I found The Deep to be most reminiscent of The Troop . Nick Cutter is an author with an M.O. and you don’t even have to read the byline to know you’re reading his book.

As with The Troop, the story begins with a clear-cut plotline: There is a horrible new disease called “The ‘Gets” wiping out the population at an alarming rate and a possible cure (code name “ambrosia” or “the nectar of the gods”) has been discovered at the bottom of the ocean. Luke’s genius (and potentially mad) scientist brother is one of three who are researching this new substance from a station on the ocean floor, and he has asked the government to summon Luke to come help him.

Also like The Troop, once the reader is on the hook, Cutter immediately unleashes a spider-webbing of additional, complex plotlines that overshadow the original premise. Once again, it’s not the physical manifestations of horror that will keep you up at night – it’s the psychological torture Cutter puts you through getting to the finish line. Sure, he’s is great when it comes to the gross-out factor (one of the earliest scenes is a man suffering from The ‘Gets wandering aimlessly with a pack of mating (and therefore cannibalizing) mantises on his head – that’s nasty), but he has the innate ability to DISTURB you down to the cellular level. Cutter doesn’t believe in the idea of the slow burn – he’s going to grab you by the balls on Page 1 and torture you until the very last paragraph. He will make your heart pound out of your chest and you’ll discover that either your nerves are completely shot or you've come down with a sudden, incurable case of restless leg syndrome.

I would have given my first born for an ARC of this book. Endless thanks to NetGalley for giving it to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Many reviewers post warnings for any potential “triggers” that certain readers may want to avoid. If you suffer from any of the following, you might want to skip this one:

Althaiophobia - Are you actually looking these up? This one isn’t really in the book, I was just checking ; )
(sorry, but I can’t resist using that .gif whenever possible)

Basically, no one EVERYONE should read this book : )

And as for you, Nick Cutter? Well, I think I might just be your number one fan : )

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,138 followers
October 10, 2020
Nick Cutter's The Troop was a truly frightening and memorable read for me so I excitedly put The Deep at the top of my October list.

And oh boy, a creepy good start introduces us to an atmosphere of unbearable heat, a crawling jungle and a man infected with the 'Gets disease..."a plague decimating humanity on a global scale."

With a cure thought to lie deep at the ocean's floor, Luke responds to an unusual and urgent request from his estranged brainiac brother to join him 8 miles below the surface in the pitch black waters of the pacific.

Disturbing dreams begin on the descent...childhood nightmares of a cruel and disgusting mother, aka Battle-Ax Beth, and worse, the millipede memory, (for me the most disturbing part of the story) that brings with it a painful, guilt ridden and heartbreaking loss."Come Home Daddy."

A dark freezing cold arrival with a rapid clickety-click sound approaching was only the beginning of the claustrophobic sinister existence Luke would come to find within the snakelike tunnels of the world below.

The Deep is indeed creepy with plenty of bizarre happenings with a strange kind of gore, but nightmare flashback memories were the most fearful and, of course, the premise of the "hungry hole" and unexpected end the "fig men" take us to. Yikes!

Profile Image for Justin (Look Alive Books).
278 reviews2,260 followers
July 3, 2016
Well, the scariest part of this book was when the damned submarine descended into the water. I've never really thought about how scary it would be to travel miles underwater and then just hang out at the bottom of the sea. I don't even like snorkeling or scuba diving. I'm not really much of a fish fan either. Hell, why did I even read this book?

Oh yeah... because The Troop was a good book. And this book sucked.

The beginning was alright and the ending was stupid. That's really all you need to know, but I'll keep going.

The whole thing felt like it was a satire of a Michael Crichton book. The characters all felt too forced, too contrived. Like, hey your brother wants you to go down to a sea lab thing. He needs your help. Ah ha ha, my brother. He doesn't need me. He's never needed me. Here are several chapters about my relationship with my brother. See my past and my dysfunctional sibling relationship? Yeah, my brother... Let's go down to the ocean and check out his experiments and learn more about stuff that isn't interesting.

I think I really just wanted more boy scouts running for their lives. This was just way off the mark for me. And, I mean, it really was stupid, too. I feel like Cutter is a good writer, he just picked a ridiculous subject this time. Joe Hill did that with his second book, too, so I'm not gonna give up on the guy. He could come back with something spectacular. Who knows?

This also kinda reminded me of that awful Annihilation book I read before. People wandering around doing research is not a good book. Any book with a doctor whoever arriving on the scene to research something is likely gonna be a waste of time. That's a very broad statement and probably untrue, but I'm too lazy to delete it. And I'm probably right anyway. Well, that's a little conceited, but... you know, the whole laziness thing...
Profile Image for Brandon.
902 reviews233 followers
June 2, 2016
A mysterious disease dubbed “the ‘gets” is ravaging the human population. Starting off slowly, it hinders your ability to remember where you parked or where you left your wallet. In time, it advances to the point where you forget to breathe and your heart forgets to beat.

A new substance, believed to be a miraculous cure-all healer, is discovered at the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the lowest known point in the ocean. It isn't long before a state of the art research center, populated with a select few brilliant scientists, is constructed eight miles below sea level.

When a sub resurfaces carrying the mutilated body of one of the researchers and communications from the station cease, two brave individuals are sent deep into the unknown to investigate.

The Deep is Nick Cutter’s follow up to his first novel, The Troop - you know, the one that scared Stephen King. Cutter must’ve known that he had to up the ante this time around and what’s scarier than a story set eight miles below sea level? Answer: not much.

While the story does take its time in building to the truly terrifying stuff, the final one hundred pages are absolutely insane. I’m talking edge of your seat, nightmare worthy material. In the Troop, Cutter relies on the fear of infection and disease and while those two elements are certainly present in The Deep, he’s more so playing on the true psychological madness of claustrophobia and everlasting darkness.

The Deep is set to hit bookstores a little under one year following The Troop (January 2015), I worry that I may get spoiled by a steady stream of Cutter material. Either way, I can’t wait for book three.

Side note: if this ever gets made into a movie, Jim Parsons is the PERFECT actor to fill the shoes of Clayton.


Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
485 reviews812 followers
March 7, 2015
The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The Deep by Nick Cutter. This is a well-executed thriller by an author whose previous novel The Troop was terrific. Cutter, pseudonym of Canadian author Craig Davidson, returns to gothic horror with style straight out of the Stephen King playbook, with the spectacular body horror of movies like The Thing or The Fly thrown in. But what was terrible and exciting in his previous novel is done to death here.

The novel opens in Guam, where veterinarian Dr. Lucas Nelson has been flown five thousand miles from his home in Iowa City on the dime of the U.S. government. The world has been ravaged by a virus dubbed The 'Gets; beginning with an outbreak of dark specks, the condition spreads (like the bruises on a banana as it turns overripe) until the patient starts to forget things, like where the car keys are. Ultimately, they forget what hot and cold feel like and eventually, why they need to breathe.

Luke is ferried to research station Hesperus which floats atop the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench, six miles below. Two miles under that in the Challenger Deep is the Trieste, a tube-like station constructed by robots. This is where Luke's brother, the prodigious molecular biologist Clayton Nelson, is working. A primitive gelatinous substance which Clayton has dubbed "Ambrosia" has been discovered on the ocean floor and promises a cure for every human disease, including the 'Gets, as well as immortality.

The Hesperus has received a transmission from Clayton asking for Luke to come home. An animal doctor who is estranged from his gifted brother, Luke's presence on the Hesperus is nevertheless seen as critical. His escort is Lt. Commander Alice Sykes, a jocular servicewoman who asks Luke to call her "Al". Before they submerge, Luke is briefed on an unsettling development. One of the three scientists in the Trieste, or what's left of him, has surfaced. Madness and a high tolerance for pain are the only explanations for what might have happened, along with a message written in the submersible in blood.


Luke has agreed to venture to the deepest point on earth because he has nothing left to lose. His son Zachary disappeared seven years ago during a game of hide and seek with his father in the park. Luke's wife left him and then the 'Gets set upon the globe. Luke has a closet full of skeletons. In addition to his missing and presumed dead son, there's emotional abuse he endured from his mother, "Battle Axe" Beth, a prison trustee who went on disability, grew obese and set out to torment her youngest son. Then there are memories of a boogeyman that plagued Luke and later his son, which Zach called the "Fig Men" off his father's assurance it was just a "figment".

The Deep follows a trend in science fiction that I find annoying: bloat. Davidson introduces a worldwide pandemic and abandons it. He switches gears from the apocalypse into gothic horror, with the claustrophobia of the Challenger Deep. The novel steps all over the intellectual property of at least two first contact novels turned film -- Solaris and Sphere -- with scientists encountering an alien entity that manifests their nightmares. Even if Davidson had forgotten about the 'Gets, at best, the novel would've been highly derivative.

Davidson isn't done borrowing from other material, some of it beneath a writer of his talent. The setting has what could be called "Camp Crystal Lake Echo", where a character finds themselves alone in a remote setting and feels the urge to call out to a friend, thereby alerting the killer exactly where they are. I lost count how many times Luke called out, and this is a character who's seen horror movies like Alien. That annoyed me.

My biggest problem with the novel is how much woe and misfortune Davidson dumps on his main character. The battle of wills that take place between a young Luke and his cruel, obese mother might've been the backbone of a much better book. There's a sinister "tickle box" or toy box that Battle Axe Beth buys for her son, with the faces of clowns painted on the side. Creepy box and creepy clowns are scary, but piling a missing child, a failed marriage, an estranged brother and a global pandemic on top of that is overkill.

The Deep is executed with precision. It's spooky in spots, even when Davidson channels Uncle Stevie by relating observations by the main character to some event in his past; this gets repetitive, but isn't what sinks the novel. There were too many ideas, too few characters and something else that bothered me: abuse to animals. I'm not squeamish when it comes to fictional violence, but what was noticable in The Troop (lab chimps and a sea turtle do not fare well) is really made obvious here, with dogs, guinea pigs, mice and ... bees? Like everything else here, it it's too much.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews335 followers
December 19, 2021
Deep in the Marianas Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, an unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. Just in time as the world is being ravaged by a plague called 'Gets. We find ourselves in a special research lab eight miles under the sea, after a strange transmission is sent out and has been radio dark since. Luke and a few of his crew are sent below the depths to find out what happened to the other crew and preserve research. Luke will find out the former crew has tapped into something not of this world. I really wanted to love this book. I found it dragged for me between discoveries. It would have been better if it had a faster pace and more terror. It was an okay read, but nothing special.

Profile Image for Stu Corner.
173 reviews27 followers
November 5, 2022
One of my all-time favourites.

Psychological Horror! - If this is your thing, then you will dig this book.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is bringing about a slow-apocalypse, in the form of a disease in which people start to forget. A kind of accelerated Alzheimer's that eventually leaves the host brain-dead. The only hope lies deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, in the Mariana Trench. A new substance has been discovered called "Ambrosia" that could be a cure for the disease.

The terrors of the deep are not what I imagined at all. I'm not going to ruin it for anyone. This is an Audible must. Corey Brill's narration captured the atmosphere perfectly. Go read / listen to it, now!
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 24 books4,131 followers
October 25, 2016
I don't even know what all to say right now. My brain is a little mind blown right now. *Shell shocked* First, a warning: This is my first go-round with Nick Cutter and I was not expecting this. You should know, if you decide to read this book, that it's *very* graphic. Not right away, you see--no, that would be a turn off.
Cutter reels you in slowly, a bit at a time, you manage to swallow some pretty foul tasting medicine but you keep going, venturing forward-- and then, when you're nice and hooked in the lip-he rips you the rest of the way through the book!
There were parts of this book that were so terrifying, so utterly unlike anything I have read, my eyes were literally bulging out of their sockets at the description of perfectly horrifying events.
I couldn't look away.
Well, actually, I did. I did the equivalent of watching a horror movie through your fingers and I skimmed over certain parts that I just couldn't deal with the details. Trust me, NOBODY writes the graphic, gory details like Nick Cutter, of that I am sure.
Nobody I have read before anyways.
You have the plot written out very neatly for you in the book's description so beyond that, I will say that this book is a mind bending, psychological, claustrophobic, descent into the deep, dark (evil) abyss that lies at the bottom of the ocean. Never go to the bottom of the ocean. Not on anyone's bucket list.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews672 followers
June 8, 2015
Eight miles below the surface of the ocean, a small team of scientists are working feverishly to harness the properties of a substance that has been discovered on the ocean floor that just may save the world from a plague of staggering proportions.

We think we know dark. Nope. Not darkness like this, knowing and ageless and cunning. The sheer pressure of living underwater seems to play with one's thoughts, twisting them into mutations of what is real and true. As your mind starts slipping gears, it's hard to know if you are screaming or laughing. Mindless nattering, shrieking and gibbering - they play all the scarier because you aren't quite there yet. Never fear, you are headed in the right direction, soon now.

Don't even talk to me about the Tickle Box. It scared me. I'm not easy to scare. There it is.
Profile Image for Alexander Peterhans.
Author 2 books172 followers
October 21, 2022
It's a haunted house on the bottom of the sea. No, it's a haunted house in the head of the main character. No, it's Event Horizon underwater.

Actually it's none of those, but it sure tries to be all horror things to all people.

Deep water scares me. Hence me trying to find horror books that play with that fear - we tend to be drawn to that which frightens us. This book only plays with it a bit, it quickly refocuses to people-in-a-closed-environment horror tropes.

tldr version: the book tries to hold too many cards in its hands, fumbles them while trying to play them, sends them flying all over the place.
Profile Image for Horace Derwent.
2,230 reviews171 followers
December 21, 2016
good story, but too much unrelated jive for bedding the story though it was enjoyable for me

yeah, the story is really good, the storyline is fine too, and reasonable, i mean acceptable

but something in this book was always doing something weird to my thoughts, when i went deeper, i only concerned with LB, that petite chocolate lab

the ending part obtains several pages, some people might think that this part ruined the whole story. to me, it led me into nowhere, cuz i still can't figure out what those two creatures' features were. are they aliens or godly beings? or something devangelic(between the angels and the demons, or non-angelic/non-demonic) which was created after the Genesis?

maybe i didn't read the author's mind well enough

this book is the second book i've read by a canadian writer, the first one is his The Troop :)

still has a lotta unfamiliar words and usages of language for me, sorry, i meant the canadian english ಠ_ಠ
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 508 books403k followers
August 13, 2017
Note to self: This was probably not the right book to read before I went on that scuba diving trip. Cutter delivers a super-creepy tale about a research lab at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, which may be humanity’s only hope for finding a cure for the ‘Gets, a new Alzheimer’s-like plague that has decimated the world population. Unfortunately, the deep-sea station goes silent, then begins sending up strange garbled communications. Then one of the researchers resurfaces in a mini-sub, except he has died in a horrible, inexplicable way, and has scrawled a strange message inside the sub in his own blood. Sound gruesome enough yet? The authorities on the surface see no option but to send a two-person recon group down to the bottom to see what’s going on. One of these brave explorers is the brother of the main researcher, and plunging into the trench will also send him back into his darkest childhood memories. This is a quick read, with plenty of chilling, shocking passages. Some of the flashbacks slowed the pace for me, but it was still a terrific summer scare-fest. Just one warning: (SPOILER) If you like things that turn out wonderful in the end, er . . . you may want to adjust your expectations.
Profile Image for Dan Corey.
221 reviews26 followers
June 14, 2021
Holy crap was this book creepy. I’m talking nightmare fuel. Unleaded. A mounting sense of dread permeates every sentence. The setting couldn’t possibly be any more claustrophobic. It literally takes place in a laboratory 8 miles down at the bottom of the ocean, full of punishingly tight crawl spaces, segmented corridors with dead ends, extremely dim lighting, and something incredibly sinister that likes to play head games. There are some images in this book that I’m pretty sure will be permanently burned into my brain.

Hellish, grotesque imagery abounds. You are going to see some crazy, deeply unsettling stuff. Trust me. I was half expecting the Cenobites from Hellraiser to show up at some point.

The cast of characters is small; a choice that works to great advantage here. You get to know the primary players very well before all is said and done; especially Luke, the main protagonist. We spend a lot of time inside his head. We are also treated to several excellent childhood flashback sequences reminiscent of Stephen King���s It. These flashbacks add a lot to the story, and tie into the main plot in some very clever ways.

A primary complaint I see about this book is that it heavily borrows ideas from a few other famous tales (Sphere and Event Horizon in particular). I can’t really speak to this topic since I am not overly familiar with either of those stories. If I had been, I may have felt differently about this story. Who knows?

That aside, there were a few things that kept this book from the coveted full 5 stars. First off, the concept of The ‘Gets (a disease that causes its victims to gradually forget everything they know, including vital everyday functions like eating food and breathing) was not explored nearly enough. It serves as a catalyst, but doesn’t really play a big role in the plot overall. This is a shame, really. It feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

Secondly, the character of Clayton was just a bit too unlikeable for my taste. He is one hundred percent self-absorbed, with ZERO redeeming qualities. I would have preferred his character have at least a slight glimmer of humanity.

Finally, certain aspects of the ending don’t really add up if you really stop and think about it. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say there were a couple things that didn’t fully work for me.

Overall, I actually really loved this book. It is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in years. Nick Cutter is a force to be reckoned with in the horror genre.

4.5 stars out of 5.
Profile Image for Shainlock .
737 reviews
January 22, 2022
I found many elements throughout the book to be very Lovecraftian; especially its end. This was an HA group read book that I saw on sale and went back to read now that it was easier for me to get ahold of it.
This is a very dark book in tone and description. The plot might seem to be one thing, but it turns out to be another thing entirely. It’s about the grotesque fears we harbor as children and then as adults ; how we embrace those fears through memory and or forgetfulness.
It reads like a long nightmare you think the main character might wake up from and does many times. Did he go mad? When? Or is he completely sane...?
Who is reliable in their narrative or is anyone? Maybe it is up to interpretation.
One warning: As with the other book that I have read by this same author, there are many scenes of animal mutilation and experimentation, etc in here. Some are hallucinations of a character, perhaps, while others, eh, ?? Either way, they are very graphic and very disturbing to animal lovers. That is why my stars are reduced in part.
Edit: came back to read my experience; I remember being pretty freaked out for me. This was in October and my husband said something around Christmas of that year about a “tickle trunk” and I almost lost my breathing memory. I had never heard of that outside this book so it freaked me out. He assured me that was a thing when I explained and then I was fine. Definitely adding to additional shelves.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
45 reviews100 followers
August 21, 2015
I finished this book yesterday and I'm sad it's over. I decided to buy The Deep after reading Nick Cutter's The Troop a few months ago. Both lived up to the hype, but after reading The Troop, I didn't believe that The Deep could possibly leave me feeling as shell-shocked as The Troop. But The Deep 'deeply' astounded me. The Deep is not for the imaginatively-challenged - Cutter's graphic, comprehensive descriptions demand a creative, broad-minded audience. The Deep thoroughly fulfilled itself as a horror novel. The story is as sinuous as the Trieste and as insidious as the ambrosia. I couldn't put the book down; from start to finish, I was compelled to flip the page to see what would happen, especially since it was impossible to guess what sort of abomination was up next. The ending was perfectly succinct, and I feel that Cutter did a wonderful job of laying Luke's troubled past and present to rest. I would recommend this novel to any horror fans.

The best image to sum up the book: deep sea darkness
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