Friday, February 24, 2017

Booknote: Rolling in the Deep

Mira Grant, Rolling in the Deep. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-59606-708-0.

Genre: fiction
Subgenre: horror
Format: hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County Public Library

I picked up this novel in  part because it  reminded me of Brian Keene's Castaways (link to my review) as both works deal with a television network's show filming. Keene's novel has contestants of a  reality show. Grant's novel deals with fake documentary makers.

In Grant's novel, the Imagine Network wants to film a documentary on mermaids. That mermaids do not exist is not an issue. The network makes great ratings  peddling B-movies and fake documentaries, so this idea is expected to be a hit. The network hires a bunch of scientists, even a "mermaid" troupe, and the cruise ship Atargatis to create the documentary. The tale chronicles this doomed voyage it turns out mermaids are very real.

The book is arranged in five parts. At the beginning of each part, we get a piece of text from a documentary about the lost Atargatis the network made after the events of the mermaid expedition. Yes, the Imagine Network turned the tragedy into a documentary on ships lost at sea. That's cheeky. Don't let it be said that a good story was wasted. After the documentary text, we get the story narrative. At 121 pages, this is a short work, so Grant has to build up and get things rolling rather quickly, which she does. Once the voyage gets going, we get the exposition of characters and build up to the first victim. After that, the pace really picks up, the monsters are revealed, and crew and passengers are picked off.

The book is a relatively quick read. There is not much substance here. The network frames between parts sort of spoil what happens, so it is a matter then of seeing how it happens. In terms of horror, it's there, but it is relatively tame. One thing Grant does well is catch the sleazy feel of a network like Imagine making profit off fake documentaries and gullible people. You cannot but help notice the parallels to real life. Heck, I could see this as a cheap B-movie on a certain network that also does fake documentaries. Otherwise, this is is a short quick read with not much bite to it. It was nice, but not too horrifying. In the end, it was OK. This is one to borrow.

2 out of 5 stars.

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