John Porter is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared on National Public Radio and in a variety of magazines. When he’s not staying up late watching horror movies, he’s usually reviewing theatre, working on Time For The Blues for WCVE public radio or performing stand-up comedy. You can follow his inane ramblings at http://mondojohnny.blogspot.com/.
“UNDER THE ICE” (E-Book Review)Book and Comic Reviews,Books/Art/Culture,News John Porter
Tony Richards’ UNDER THE ICE is a tight, fast-paced, creepy read that will give you some real shivers. If it doesn’t scare you with its plot, just reading the descriptions of frozen Helsinki should do it.
The story owes a lot to W.W. Jacobs’ classic 1902 tale “The Monkey’s Paw, instructing that you should always be careful what you wish for. But before we get to the meat of this novella (available as an e-book from Samhain Publishing), Richards gives us the backstory of a pair of twins in love with the same woman. To make matters more interesting, the brothers are polar opposites; one is successful, while the other lives hand-to-mouth. One has made good career choices, while the other is a perpetual teenager. One has no romantic connections, while the other has a beautiful girlfriend. It is only after the less successful twin—the one with the beautiful girlfriend—takes a header into freezing water one night that the plot really takes off. Let’s just say that once summoned, some things don’t stay locked away under the ice for long…
While the book’s brevity works for it in some ways, one does wish that Richards had spent a little more time both developing the backstory and on the aftermath. He’s a good storyteller, and I found myself wanting to slow down and enjoy this one a little more. No sooner have you gotten started than you find yourself plunged into the plot, and far too quickly, the novella ends. Still, that quibble aside, UNDER THE ICE is a lot of fun, and will be a good read on a cold night. And there are many other horrific titles available from Samhain; if you enjoy discovering new authors, this is a great place to start.