Necessary Evil Press
Hardcover and HC limited edition, $45.00-$250.00
Reviewed by Nickolas Cook
The Cthulhu Mythos have come a long way since Lovecraft’s day. We genre fans have seen them pass through the testosterone fueled pages of Robert E. Howard, passed off to a man who crept up on them, ever quiet and horrific, Ramsey Campbell, and then to Brian Lumley, a writer who’s added so much depth to them that he’s almost recreated Lovecraft’s world of shadowy hidden interdimensional monster gods.
And now along comes the talented and prolific James Moore to catch us up on what ever happened to that dreaded and fishy town of Innsmouth.
Captain Joe Bierdan has the misfortune to contract out his boat to a team of scientists who want to investigate the strange happenings off the coast of Golden Cove, Massachusetts. Along with his shipmate, Charlie, a rugged womanizer, and a variety of characters intent on finding the truth of Golden Cove’s horrifying past, they set sail for a month of frolicking in its fog bound waters. What they find beneath the cove’s icy waves will be pretty easy to guess for any fan of Lovecraft’s classic stories. But as is usual with Moore, the story moves along at a good clip and is full of interesting twists.
Writing in first person is always a risky venture for a horror author. You know the protagonist is never in any real danger or else there’d be no one to tell the story. So, on a fundamental level, the suspense in Deeper has been deferred, somewhat, for a darn good story. Joe lives, okay? But it’s the hell he survives that makes this worth the read.
With a firm grasp of the craft, Moore gathers Lovecraft’s legacy into his capable hands and makes it his own by adding a few new touches to the Innsmouth cycle – including a genius turn at giving the man-fish creatures the ability to communicate through images and sensations. There is tension aplenty within the plot between Joe and his immature shipmate, a zealous scientist, and a pair of television parapsychologist out to prove the cove haunted by more than Lovecraft’s fishy men. The diving research is solid; the descriptive passages will freeze you to the bone; and the end will grab you by the throat. Moore manages to even inject of a bit of action movie esthetic into Deeper, something that no other Lovecraft story has been able to do since Lumley’s first Titus Crow adventures.
As with all of Moore’s works, the story is all about the characters and how they react to their situation. Even in a shared world such as this, he goes a long way in making up for Lovecraft’s total lack of regard for living, breathing characters.
All in all, this is a welcome addition to the Cthulhu Mythos … hopefully not James Moore’s only venture into them.