Reviews of Dark Fiction

Salt Water Tears by Brian A. Hopkins, narrated by Joshua Saxon

As the title indicates, this book is a collection of stories that relates to oceans. I may never swim again!

I’m not sure why I didn’t expect a lot when I started this collection but I was quickly proven wrong. Brian A. Hopkins has some serious writing chops. Even though these tales all I have a common theme, they are widely varied and often the tone of one story is completely different from the tone of the next.

These were my favorites:

THE BAITED NIGHT-What a scream! I felt so, so bad for George, battling cancer and his entire, sad history. (And NO history with the ladies, poor guy!) Anyway, a man can be dangerous when he has nothing to lose. This would have made a great movie-because it was so well written, it played out like a movie in my head.

THE CROCODILE GODS- Holy Hell! This is one of the most harrowing tales I’ve ever read. There was a note from the author that end that chilled me to the bone.

NORTH- A blind boy gets lost in the woods, with only the sounds of a nearby bay to guide him.

DIVING THE COOLIDGE- A tale of two men, diving the wreck of a luxury ocean liner, later turned troop carrier in 1941, before she was sunk by a mine. Just thinking about a ship like being taken over by the ocean, sea creatures living in it, and who knows what else? shudder

Joshua Saxon, the narrator, is fast becoming one of my favorite voices in audiobooks. He can perform anything, his accents sound genuine, and he adds just the right amount of drama to keep those earphones stuck to my ears.

This was a rather short collection, and I enjoyed that it didn’t take me forever to get through. For me, short stories are often a palate cleanser between novels and as such, sometimes it takes me months to finish an anthology or collection. This one rolled by pretty quick and I’m looking forward to learning more and reading more from Mr. Hopkins.

Highly Recommended!

Thank you to the author for the audio download in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.

Salt Water Tears Book Cover Salt Water Tears
Brian A. Hopkins, narrated by Joshua Saxon
Dark Fiction
Crossroad Press
1.22.2021
Audible Audiobook
7 hours, 30 minutes
Narrator, Audible

Salt Water Tears delivers 11 stories from Bram Stoker Award winning author Brian A. Hopkins. These stories share a common theme, the oceans that cover seven-tenths of our world, but each is as unique and emotionally-charged as you've come to expect from this talented, seasoned, if not-heard-from-often-enough author. Submerge yourself in the worlds of this gifted storyteller, and you'll not want to come up for air.

"...his stories carry things often forgotten or left behind in both horror and science fiction - poetry, emotion, and heart.... If you haven't met Brian A. Hopkins, this could be the introduction you need." (William D. Gagliani)

"...another excellent collection of Brian's work.... I found it impossible to put this book down.... Fabulous!" (Lesley Mazey, The Eternal Night)

"Over the course of the last year or so we've sold more trade paperbacks by Brian Hopkins than we have any other writer.... [Brian] seems to be the kind of writer that appeals to our patrons. I like to think that that kind of writer is literate, emphatic, unusual and lyrical.... Better check this Hopkins guy out." (Mark Ziesing, bookseller and publisher)

"Hopkins displays a fascination with damaged protagonists...that is almost as strong as the fascination with the ocean and cetaceans...that is the titular focus of this book. From the distant play of orcas in 'North' to the rotting dolphin corpses center stage in 'Wrinkles at Twilight', this theme of the pelagic mysteries weaves a fascinating metaphor for the decidedly land-based life led by most of Hopkins' readership.... These are not emotionally satisfying, morally secure stories - they are challenging, sometimes difficult, and always at least a bit slantwise of the reader's expectation and experience." (Jay Lake, from a review in Tangent)

"The sea is the birthplace of all life. It has inspired some of the greatest minds in literature: Homer, Melville, Conrad, Hemingway...and Brian A. Hopkins.... Hopkins dives deep into the mysteries of inner space and returns with a chest full of literary gems. Submerge yourself in his word. You may never wish to come ashore again." (Garrett Peck, from a review in Cemetery Dance)

"Brian Hopkins writes of the ocean as if he were a part of it. His empathy with whales - in particular - is phenomenal, and the subtle blend of intense research and intuitive talent is - at times - unnerving. Unforgettable fiction." (David Niall Wilson, author of This Is My Blood)

"When I examine my obsession with Fitzgerald and Tolstoy, for Dickens and Dostoevsky, I realize that what keeps me coming back to Gatsby and Anna and the rest is the music I hear when I am with them. That, and my absolute conviction that there is nothing there that I would have had them do differently. So it is with BAH's work. He doesn't simply write; he composes. Long after the reading is done, the melody lingers on." (Janet Berliner, Bram Stoker Award Winning author of Rite of the Dragon)

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