Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drowned Sorrow by Vanessa Morgan

Published December, 2008.

Megan Blackwood has just lost her son in a terrible accident. Now she has come to Moonlight Creek with her teenage daughter Jenna, hoping a change of scenery might help to put her life back together.

But something odd is going on in Moonlight Creek. When rain falls over the village, its inhabitants commit grisly murders, leaving the place deserted with the first rays of sunshine.

Beneath the lake's surface, an eerie presence watches... and waits... Waits to reveal a tragic past drowned in mystery and fear. One that doesn't bode well for visitors.

By the time Megan realizes that her daughter's life is in danger, it may be too late to escape.

This is the second self-published work I'm reviewing of Morgan's next to her short story 'The Strangers Outside.' Drowned Sorrow is a novella coming in just over 100 pages and I have to say, I think the length proves a better friend for Morgan's writing.

I'll start with the good - I loved the premise. As someone that has a not-so-irrational fear of natural bodies of water (hey, there's a lot of shit in the ocean that can kill you), the concept of the water being a source of unknowable fear kind of creeped me out. But what I liked most was the execution of how the villagers played it all out. I wish there was a little more exposition for the whys of why the lake was what it was but I thought how the people were one with the water, literally, was great. I actually felt a little dank reading it considering water was dripping and running everywhere. That part, the horror of the water, was done pretty well.

And for the not-so-good - I still wasn't too fond of her characters. The main character starts off really hard to like and even after the incident with her son, I just couldn't shake her unlikeable attitude. She's just a very selfish person and what happened to her son happened because of her. I guess I couldn't forgive her for that. Jet pack moms aren't my thing.

The daughter was neither here or there for me. I just didn't feel anything for her. I watched her play around on the pages but as I read, I didn't really see her involvement as necessary for about 95% of it. Her voice as a teen also didn't strike right for me. It wasn't horribly off but it wasn't hitting home as a teen voice. It read a little too young for her age.

In all honesty, I preferred the subplot between the boy and his mother and father. I just wish what happened to them at the end was drawn out a little more. I loved what happened to them (if you read it, you'll realize just how demented that statement is) but I think if the process itself was expanded upon a little more, it would have been even creepier.

The biggest kicker for me, though, was the fact that this story is placed in Connecticut. Well, I live in Connecticut so the fallacies with the geography really pulled me out of the story. When I read the protag saying that the next town was 3 hours away, that just isn't believable. Even in the sticks of Southern New England, you're no more than 20 minutes away from the next town. And you have to be really far into the woods and travel 10 miles an hour on a dirt road to get that. I believe the story is placed at the mouth of the Connecticut River. That puts them in the Lymes. Kind of boony but not like the story insinuates. Drive 3 hours west and you're in New York. Three hours north and you're broaching New Hampshire, let alone Massachusetts. Three hours east and you're in the Atlantic. Connecticut is rinky dink. You can drive border to border in an hour, not to mention you're right off of one of the busiest highways in the country. And we're not a high rain area except in the spring maybe. So I just couldn't suspend my disbelief for the locale, which was a major part of the story. I would have liked to see better effort on the geographical research done.

Overall I still felt the writing needed a little more polishing but by far, this was the better story out of Morgan's two and I really think it has to do with length. I'd like to see what she can do with a full length horror novel. She definitely has the flare for it, and far more talent that I ever had for writing it. With some fine tuning, I think she could write some genuinely creepy stuff. She has the mind for it, that's for sure.

Of all the self-published books, I'm glad I got this one. It's really not bad. In all honesty, it doesn't compare to the House books I get but for someone doing it on their own, it's good. I'd like to see Morgan take more chances with her writing. Don't be afraid to make the paths hard, the endings hard. One could argue this ending was hard and I guess it was but, personally, it wrapped up a little too sweet. I guess I like my horror just a touch more unforgiving. I'm a sadist that way. Ha! But really, this story wasn't bad at all. I found myself wanting to keep reading to see how it all played out.

1 comment:

miss cindy :) said...

This doesn't sound like something I'd want to read, but great review :)

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