Reviews of dark fiction

THE MERCY OF THE TIDE by Keith Rosson, narrated by Joshua Saxon

Set in the Pacific Northwest in the early 80’s, THE MERCY OF THE TIDE brought home a robust sense of time and place.

In a small Oregon town, tragedy strikes in the form of a drunk driver. In towns like this, with an event like this, nearly everyone is affected as the ramifications ripple outward. Then, other things start happening. Dead, mutilated birds appear on people’s doorsteps. A skeleton is found in a local park. One deputy thinks he knows what’s happening: it’s related to an old native American legend. Can the goings-on in town be attributed to the legend, or are they attributable to humanity? You’ll have to read this to find out!

I very much related to the characters in this book. There’s one named Toad, (a nickname for Todd), and I knew a Toad when I was growing up, which was about the same time period as in this book. I also remember being afraid of the Russians and nuclear war. There’s a young girl in this book who is obsessed with nuclear annihilation. The music mentioned: Motorhead, The Ramones, and others-they formed the soundtrack of my teen years. I remember Ronald Reagan being shot as well-so all these things were perfectly drawn as far as I’m concerned.

The writing here was very good, especially the character development. The powerful themes of guilt and grief abound, and the reader cannot help but feel for these people. However, I did have a few issues. I can’t get too deeply into what those issues were because SPOILERS, but I can say I felt let down regarding the native American legend portion. I wanted more! I thought the denouement was perfect though-it shocked the hell out of me, but it also made me so mad I’m gritting my teeth just thinking about it.

Overall, I was impressed with this author and the book. The narration was excellent, as I’ve come to learn-Joshua Saxon’s work always is. I recommend this book-especially to those readers who came of age during this time period in American history. If you’re like me, you will feel the powerful rise of fond nostalgia.

Get your copy here: The Mercy of the Tide

*I received an audio version from Meerkat Press in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

The Mercy of the Tide Book Cover The Mercy of the Tide
Keith Rossen
Dark Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Meerkat Press
2.21.17
Audiobook
11 hours, 3 minutes
https://amzn.to/3krh6E2

Riptide, Oregon, 1983. A sleepy coastal town, where crime usually consists of underage drinking down at a Wolf Point bonfire. But then, strange things start happening. A human skeleton is unearthed in a local park, and mutilated animals begin appearing, seemingly sacrificed, on the town's beaches.

The Mercy of the Tide follows four people drawn irrevocably together by a recent tragedy as they do their best to reclaim their lives - leading them all to a discovery that will change them and their town forever.

At the heart of the story are Sam Finster, a senior in high school mourning the death of his mother, and his sister Trina, a nine-year-old deaf girl who denies her grief by dreaming of a nuclear apocalypse as Cold War tensions rise. Meanwhile, sheriff Dave Dobbs and deputy Nick Hayslip must try to put their own sorrows aside to figure out who, or what, is wreaking havoc on their once-idyllic town.

Keith Rosson paints outside the typical genre lines with his brilliant debut novel. It is a gorgeously written book that merges the sly wonder of magical realism and alternate history with the depth and characterization of literary fiction.

"Rosson is a talent to be watched, and Riptide is one of the most immersive fictional settings in recent memory." (NPR Books, Jason Heller)

"A striking novel" (Publisher's Weekly (starred review))

"An exquisitely honed, beautifully written novel." (Foreword Reviews (4/4 hearts))

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