Friday, September 14, 2018

Review: Backwater - by Tom Deady

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Tom Deady (pronounced dee-dee) is one of a few new writers I must read as soon as they release something fresh.  The only work I haven't gotten around to is Eternal Darkness and I hope to correct that before year's end.  Yeah, he's that good.  The two novellas in this collection further solidify his standing as a talent to take note of.

First up, is Class Reunion.  When Tim Douglas returns to Edgewater for his mother's funeral, he decides to attend his fortieth Class Reunion.  The event brings back a lot of memories.  Many of them not good at all.  Especially as he recalls the deaths of Anna Koslovsky, Mary Frazier, & Judith O'Shea.

Then there was the music, forty years ago and disco was big.  Not my favorite genre, but I admit I often supplemented my meager income as a radio DJ by working in area clubs playing the stuff people wanted to dance to, and this part of the story did bring back a few fond memories for me.

While parts of Class Reunion were charmingly refreshing there was a bittersweet taste to the tale as Tim and a classmate unravel a forty-year-old mystery.  The overall effect made for a stellar read.

Novella, number two also takes place around Edgewater during the same time period and shares some of the same locations which made for a nice touch.

One Night at the Grand is about a group of friends who often enter abandoned buildings without permission, just to explore and take photographs.

Word on the street is the old Grand Hotel is about to be torn down and when the opportunity to check it out before its demise came about, Brian, Jay, Katy, and their unofficial leader, Stanley Polwalski just had to get inside.

Deady paints a dark cloud over the excursion from the very beginning and you just know things are going to go very wrong.

Along the way, the author makes this wonderful observation...

"Life really does go by fast.  We retain bits and pieces, but much of it goes by like scenery on a well-traveled commute.  Invisible."

One Night at the Grand is definitely the darker of the two tales, even though they both have their moments.

Reading a Deady story gives me a level of comfort I don't get with many writers.  More a feeling like we're just hanging out and Tom is relating a story rather than being in a lecture hall somewhere being forced to take notes.  Very casual, informal.  Makes for a good read.

If you haven't read Tom Deady's work before, Backwater is an excellent starting point and if you enjoy what you find, pick up his debut novel, Haven.  You can thank me later.

Published by Omnium Gatherum Media, Backwater is available now for the Kindle.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

From the author's bio - Tom Deady is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of HavenEternal Darkness, and Weekend Getaway.  He holds a Master’s Degree in English and teaches Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.   He is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association and a member of the New England Horror Writers.

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