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Book Review: "Dead Water" by C.A Fletcher

1/5 - a disappointing, oddly-paced mess with silly pop culture references...

By Annie KapurPublished 11 days ago 3 min read
From: Twitter

When it comes to water-based folk horror, I am normally quite curious to see what can be done with it. From All the Murmuring Bones to The Lighthouse Witches, it is clear there are some really great reads of that type out there. However, there are also some try-outs that did not quite make the cut of being the best of their kind. Nobody was ever telling anyone to reinvent the wheel, but the standard I usually set of water-type folk horror lies somewhere in the regions of Lucie McKnight Hardy's Water Shall Refuse Them - even if it did have the same storyline. Unfortunately, this book here, Dead Water by CA Fletcher, does not take much influence from any of the already mentioned texts, but rather tries and fails to reinvent the wheel. With terrible pacing, messy shoehorned pop culture references and scenes which go on for longer than they are supposed to, it is no wonder as to why this book does not really constitute good folk horror.

First of all, this book is about something strange happening in the water of a remote island in the Northern Atlantic. Not knowing whether it is a monster, biological illness, or some sort of curse, there is a sense of isolation that pervades over the inhabitants as they struggle with the meaning of what this might be. Whatever it is, one thing is clear: it is starting to close in on them quickly. For a storyline, this is not too bad. Yes it has some cliché topics such as the idea that it might be an apocalyptic illness of some kind and the idea that everyone is becoming more and more trapped by the day. However, it is a doable storyline if there was better writing involved.

From: Ancillary Reviews

The atmosphere became repetitive after a while. I usually love long, never-ending descriptions and slow-burning novels. But in this case there was just nothing to read, the novel became too pointless and did not get started until after halfway through. For a novel that is little over 500 pages, this can get frustrating when you have to sift through a lot of meaningless characters to get to the story's heart.

The endlessness of the book's bad writing came down to the character development really. I felt like these characters were not really getting anywhere, the pace did not increase and they were not really likeable or redemptive in any way. There was an underlying dislike for them that I had constantly throughout the book based on the different descriptions of them or what they were doing at the time. The characters became more unlikeable as the story went absolutely nowhere and the ending felt like a rushed mess in comparison to the rest of the text.

There were far too many silly pop culture references everywhere. Now, I'm all for making your text seem modern and trendy, but to shoehorn them in whenever seems lazy. Why? There are more ways to make your text seem modern than shoving pop culture down everyone's throat all the time. You can do it through speech styles and descriptions of places. You don't have to name-drop random people, songs and popular culture all the time. It takes the reader out of the atmosphere of the text, especially when you are trying to create the horror-esque atmosphere. Sometimes, many of these references would also go on for far too long. It would become a challenge just to get through some of them to be able to get back to the story. I would say that deleting these references would make the book no different and therefore, they have no impact.

All in all, I think this book seemed like someone was trying to meet a deadline and was on the last 50 pages when the deadline was approaching quickly. Why? After about 95% of the book, there is a lot of deus ex machina and rushing towards the end. It did not feel like the ending was crafted from clues from other parts of the story. It was just given to us and as the ending came about, I do not think any reader would be shocked or suprised, they would just be bored.

Sorry, but there is no redeeming factor to this book.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

175K+ Reads on Vocal

Film and Writing (M.A)

My New Twitter: @AnnieWithBooks

📍Birmingham, UK

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Comments (2)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran11 days ago

    Oh my, I can never deal with long descriptions and a slow burner. I'm just too impatient. I also don't like rushed endings. A big pass on this book, lol!

  • Wonderful review!

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