Fathom Five…a state-of-the-art oceanic research facility, suspended far below the surface. There, in the dark and the deep, a team of top-notch scientists study the ecosystems and denizens of an aquatic environment as alien as another planet.
There, they also conduct illicit experiments upon hapless human subjects, with the goal of giving our species a chance to adapt to a changing world. Or, at the very least, to create mutant freaky fish-people, because, why not?
Oh, the arrogance and hubris of genius! Oh, the freaky things that already dwell in the strange, hostile depths! In the cold, crushing, silent pressure of a blackness lit only by eerie bioluminescence. Things that don’t take kindly to intruders Things that are ancient, and enormous, and hungry.
Christine Morgan’s latest novel turns her extreme horror sensibilities onto the beloved ‘when sea monsters attack’ genre with Trench Mouth; a big, fun summer read featuring an especially memorable sea-beast, there to eat its way through the ill-fated cast.
The Fathom Five research station, based deep below the surface of the ocean, is home to top-secret and highly illegal human experiments, turning people into human/fish hybrids. One unwitting group has been picked for the next stage in these inhuman studies, but their fate may actually turn out to be even more dire.
There is a creature living deep down in the depths of the ocean, its territory invaded by the Fathom Five station, and it does not take too kindly to competition. This monstrous deep-sea denizen has been the unchallenged top of the food chain for as long as it remembers, and has no intention of allowing that to change.
Big, adventure-packed books about deep-sea creatures with a taste for human flesh are almost a genre unto themselves at this point, and as much fun as they are, it can’t be easy to stand out in such a crowded and niche marketplace. The fact that one of the genre’s most well known hardcore horror writers has penned it is a big selling point but, as a fan of these types of books, there was a lot that stood out to me.
What does help Trench Mouth stand apart is the humor that pervades everything about the book. It is very meta, with characters constantly aware of the ridiculousness of their situation, and often referring to it in pop culture terms (nods to Jason Statham’s Meg movie abound, amongst many others). Having said that, the story is played straight and the humor comes from the absurdity of the situations and not at the expense of the characters.
As readers of books of this type have come to expect, Trench Mouth is also very action-heavy, and does not skimp on the body count. There are a lot of moving parts, and dozens of different characters that get their turn in the spotlight, many of whom are destined for a very unpleasant end. The book doesn’t so much build up tension, but rather kicks straight off from page one and doesn’t stop until the very end. Given who the author is, I didn’t find the violence or horror any more extreme than, say a Hunter Shea or Steve Alten book, but I can’t imagine horror fans will be remotely disappointed in that regard.
Bombastic bloodshed, big-scale action and a fun, meta take on the deep-sea terror tropes, Trench Mouth is a gleefully ridiculous book that makes Sharknado seem like Schindler’s List in comparison. If you want to kickstart your summer with pure, gut-munching entertainment, then this book is mandatory beach-side reading.
IndieMuse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.