Book Reviews

Review: Waves of Sound and Water (2020) by Stephen Williams

Nautical horror has infinite possibilities. You’re lying if you say the ocean isn’t completely terrifying. Fascinating, yeah, but horror is at home with the unknown and that’s 90% of the sea. Nautical as all hell, Waves of Sound and Water (WSW for the sake of brevity) is a poetic chapbook with serious THE LIGHTHOUSE vibes.

WSW is a brief tale of Marko, a lighthouse caregiver that writes of his discovery of the treacherous Clanging Bell, a figment of legend that just so happened to be stored in the basement of the lighthouse. (Isn’t treacherous such a pirate-y word?) The Bell is said to warp the mind of any sailor who hears it and by awful chance, Marko hears its chime and describes his struggles.

I had some trouble grasping what exactly was *grasping* the narrator. An unwavering reflex to rhyme? Total loss of his choice of vocabulary? A creeping insanity he was completely aware of? I wasn’t feeling particularly scared because I felt he wasn’t really in any type of danger. His stories of what happened to others were stirring but not so much when it was happening to him in real time. I personally needed more clarification to move along without confusion. And to be fair, the book is cited as a “dark fable” and not horror. The atmosphere was heavily saturated; I pictured nothing but grimy, grey, misty, miserable landscapes.

I really enjoyed the story overall, from the setting to the formatting of the book. I’ve never read a chapbook but the fusion of short, poem, and diary entry was a unique experience and still told a sensical 3-part story. I think Williams has the *write* stuff (god, shoot me) and I’m digging this style. A little rant here, but I think short stories (actual shorts, not 280 page novellas) need to make a major comeback. WSW is a shining example of what authors can do with any idea and still make it appealing to every type of reader.

Waves of Sound and Water is available in paperback and Kindle formats. You can purchase it HERE.

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