Imagine if a multi-media corporation launched an expedition to uncover the truth of the existence of a legendary sea monster, the mermaid. Imagine a ship sailed into the Marianna Trench, to search for evidence that the myth was actually based on fact, and crewed by scientists and cameramen. Imagine they actually found what they were looking for, and were not at all prepared for it.
The Imagine Corporation has one failed expedition under its belt already; the crew of the Atargatis was a total loss, leaving behind grieving family, and impending litigation. Seven years after the initial tragedy, a new expedition is organized, with twin goals of proving the existence of mermaids and restoring the image of the company. The Melusine sets out with a new crew, many of whom have studied the footage recovered from the doomed Atargatis. They know that the “mermaids” are out there and hopefully, they will survive long enough to get some answers this time.
I don’t often read horror stories, but Into the Drowning Deep was a recent choice of my local book club and I was intrigued enough to stay up late at night reading it through. The preface contained flashbacks and reports drawn from camera footage of the doomed Atargatis, done in a manner that reminded me eerily of The Blair Witch. As the story continued, I realized the monsters themselves and the action present would make a far better horror movie than many I’ve seen.
The author uses multiple points of view, as several of the narrators fall prey to the invaders, with a lot of thrills and action in the plot. Grant also finds moments in the story to comment on the purpose of the expedition and of life itself with gorgeous prose, such as this quote from Chapter 18, where Luis Martines is musing on the job they have set out to do:
“Let deforestation do away with Bigfoot, let sonar destroy Nessie, but the sea would always be deep, always be dark, always be filled with wonders.”
The author clearly demonstrates that the ocean is stronger and more mysterious than man is capable of understanding or conquering.
In fact, the misnamed “mermaids” are truly more than the crew of the Melusine can handle-they are smart, fast, and strong, they can breathe air, and their secretions are toxic to humans. Can the crew, led by a sirenologist and an Imagine executive survive long enough to raise the broken shields on the ship and trap the mermaids inside, or will they all be devoured by something even more deadly from the deep?
This book is truly an exciting read, which I give five stars, and recommend to anyone interested in horror, paranormal stories of creatures, or thriller stories.