« Heartsick / Chelsea Cain | Main | Morbid Curiosity / Deborah LeBlanc »

The Shallow End of the Pool / Adam-Troy Castro

thshallowstorecover1.jpgCreeping Hemlock Press / March 2008
Reviewed by: Blu Gilliand 

Most genre fiction is escapist by nature, providing opportunities to face fear head-on in the form of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other easy-to-dismiss-‘cause-they-don’t-exist staples. But every once in a while, an author is haunted by things that are so strongly grounded in the real world that dressing them up in Halloween costumes fails to do the subject justice.

With The Shallow End of the Pool, his new novella from Creeping Hemlock Press, Adam-Troy Castro shows us just such a horror. It is the horror of failed love, broken relationships, and the burdens people place on the ones they supposedly love.

In most reviews, this would be the perfect place to provide a neat, tidy synopsis of the book’s plot. However, it is this reviewer’s opinion that the best way for readers to come into this story is with absolutely no idea of where things are headed. Castro’s storytelling is so tight that readers have just enough time to form two or three possible scenarios before he hits you full in the face with what’s about to happen. And just as soon as you process where the story is going, you’re smack-dab in the middle of an event too horrifying to comprehend – as are the characters themselves.

So no, I don’t want to spell out the plot. What I do want is to make sure it’s understood just how potent Castro’s work is. His vivid prose will bruise you, bloody you, and burn you like a hot Vegas day. Castro, whose body of work covers an amazing variety of subjects (everything from guides to The Amazing Race television series to Spider-Man novels, science fiction, fantasy and horror), has honed this piece so that every word wounds you, while at the same time compelling you to come back for more.

If you don’t mind putting aside the made-up madmen and monsters that entertain us (and yes, often, even scare us) for a lingering look into the face of true madness and despair, pick up The Shallow End of the Pool.

Purchase Adam-Troy Castro's The Shallow End of the Pool.

Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 11:23AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend