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