Publication date July 2022
Publisher Little Brown
-A water-borne blight hits a remote community on a small island on the edge of the Northern Atlantic. The islanders are a strange mix, some island-born, some seeking a slower life away from the modern world. All have their own secrets, some much darker than others. Rumour says the illness may be a water-borne neural infection from the shellfish farm, a case of mass hysteria – or even a long-buried curse – but when ferry service fails, inconvenience grows into nightmarish ordeal as the outwardly harmonious fabric of the community is unnervingly torn apart.
A haunting, suspenseful tale of isolation and dread within a small island community
Fletcher is new to me, and whilst the beautiful cover drew me to this novel under the horror category on Netgalley, I did something I seldom do with ARCs and checked a few reviews before requesting.
Immediately I disagree with a frequent opinion here. People have said the pace was slow but whilst there are a lot of characters in Dead Water, Sig being the lead, I found every one of them interesting.
Something evil and unnatural has been unleashed upon the island, and showing this in third person from multiple perspectives- including the personification of a pair of ravens- gave the evil a far-reaching, unstoppable quality.
The residents go about their daily lives tied up in their own dramas with no idea of the creeping, insidious danger.
The prologue and a few intermittent italic chapters concern the story of an emissary bodyguard in the Viking era, weaving the origins of the evil to come. I struggled a little to follow exactly what was going on here but understood enough to link it to the present time events, though I did finish the book feeling like there was maybe a few connections others will see that I’ve missed.
I loved everything about Dead Water, the pacing was great, the remote setting heightened the tension, the character arcs were well written and I cared for them all come the end.
I thought the disability representation was done really well and it was refreshing to read a book where survival is the one and only goal.
There’s no romance, no revenge plots, no prejudice. Just a tiny community fighting against the unknown to stay alive.
I read this novel by the water whilst staying at a lakehouse in the middle of nowhere, perfect.