Monday, 15 September 2014
The Deep by Nick Cutter
This is outstandingly good, one of the best novels I have read in a long time. As the blurb at the back of the book says, it's kind of The Abyss (it's set on a deep ocean base at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean with all the mystery and oppressive atmosphere that being at the bottom of the sea entails) with The Shining (they're cut off from society and people start to get cabin fever and go mental, or do they?). As one would expect from a book like this, there's a heavy mix of the supernatural, of demonic goings on, and as with The Shining you're never sure how much is in the characters' heads and how much is real.
While the plot is good, it's not outstandingly original. What raises this novel up from the usual is the writing. Quite simply the author's writing is superlative. He has a real ability to describe something deeply with a turn of phrase, to charge events with real emotion. Without giving too much away there's a scene where a child disappears and its quite simply haunting.
The author also has a way of keeping the narrative flowing. In many novels the character's back story is explained in clunky prose. Not in this novel. I found flashbacks and memories seamlessly integrated into the main narrative of the novel in a way that many novelists fail to do.
When I googled the author I wasn't surprised to find that he's also a literature novelist (it's an open secret on the net who he is and indeed he does little to hide his true identity). I would certainly read more of his work across genres.