To be released May 31, 2022
KC Jones’ Black Tide, a character-driven science fiction/horror novel that explores what happens after a cataclysmic event leaves the world crawling with nightmares, will be published by Nightfire in May 2022!
A story with a cinematic feel, Black Tide is Cujo meets A Quiet Place.
It was just another day at the beach. And then the world ended.
Mike and Beth didn’t know each other existed before the night of the meteor shower. A melancholy film producer and a house sitter barely scraping by, chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.
After a drunken and desperate one-night-stand, the two strangers awake to discover a surprise astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only a part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a set of lost car keys leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast, when their emergency calls go unanswered and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for the car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must find in each other the strength to overcome past pain and the fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.
Black Tide starts with Beth house sitting for a friend. She sees the next door neighbor, Mike, and one a night he is outside drinking, she decides to introduce herself. Mike is a film producer and alone, so Beth asks to join him. While they get drunk and learn more about each other, things start falling from the sky. They think that it is a meteor shower, not realizing they are watching the end of the world. What starts as a fun night ends the next day in a world of terror and gore.
KC Jones does a lot of good things in his debut novel. I enjoy the characters he has created. Beth is someone who does not really had much going for her, someone whose mother has told her that she will ruin everything she touches, and someone who has fallen into a life of drug abuse and low self esteem. Mike is someone who is living through the sadness of the loss of his marriage and a career that is waning. Two sad and lonely people meet on a night and the next day the book has thrust them into the role of unlikely heroes. We genuinely want them to succeed, but Jones also does a great job of putting them into a situation that does not show very much promise. The synopsis says that there are tones of Cujo by Stephen King in this book, and I could not thinking this while reading. I read Cujo at a young age and remember the same feeling of the mother and son being trapped in the car with the rabid dog outside trying to get to them. This book spends a great deal of time with two of them being trapped, being stalked by these creatures, and trying to figure out what they are going to do before they die from the elements.
The biggest weakness in this novel is the monsters. I never really get a firm grasp of how they operate and their physical structures because it seems to progress every time they have an encounter with them. If we just had monsters with sharp claws, teeth, and were frightening to look at, we would not be so bogged down in the details. In the end, many of the characteristics that Jones gives them do not matter as much as they mattered in the moment. Claws and teeth, and speed are enough. If the monster design was a little more simplistic, we could have also gotten a better picture of them in our heads. Instead I really still do have have the clearest picture of what Beth and Mike were fighting.
Overall Black Tide is a fun, tense, horror novel, and even despite the monsters, it deserves to be read. The tension of the situation makes the second half of the novel just speed passed, and this is what we always want from any novel.
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.