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The Deep


The Deep

To say that Luke Nelson is surprised to get a call from the government summoning him to the oceanic research station where his older brother works is to put it mildly. First, Luke is a veterinarian, not someone qualified to do the work Clay does. Second, the two haven’t spoken in years and were never close growing up. As the strange disease called the ’Gets continues to devastate the global population, Dr. Clayton Nelson’s work on a deep-sea substance called “ambrosia” seems more and more imperative.

Residing in a submersible lab, the Trieste, in the Mariana Trench, Clay and two other scientists haven’t seen the sun or been without the constant pressure of eight miles of sea above them in a long time. The support station on the surface has grown increasingly worried about their work and well-being, so before he knows it, Luke is making the dark journey to the Trieste to reason with his brother, find out what is going on at the lab, and, hopefully, save the research that could prevent the further spread of the ’Gets.

"THE DEEP is a frightening novel with a surprising introspective streak. Cutter successfully balances the drama aboard the Trieste with what is happening in Luke’s mind and memory."

THE DEEP, Nick Cutter’s latest novel, follows Luke to the bottom of the ocean to confront his brother, his past, and a strange and calculating evil. The story begins with an apocalyptic vision as the ’Gets, an illness that robs victims of basic memories, eventually killing them when their bodies forget how to breathe and circulate blood, is sweeping across the planet. However, Cutter has primarily crafted a modern-traditional horror story that blends the psychological and the physical, though the line between what is real and what is in the characters’ minds is not always clear. That ambiguity makes for a scary, panic-driven story. The setting, the dark, cramped and dangerous Trieste, adds a palatable claustrophobic feeling.

What Luke, along with submarine pilot Alice Sykes, finds in the Trieste is a bizarre and terrifying maze of tubular tunnels. One of the three original scientists seems to have committed suicide and another has barricaded himself in his lab. Clay is annoyed by his brother’s appearance and uninterested in the mental states of his colleagues. He is concerned only with his experiments with the ambrosia. The longer Luke stays in the Trieste, the more frustrated he becomes with his brother and the more he is forced to grapple with the trauma of his past --- from the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother to the loss of his young son and subsequent divorce. Is it an extreme cabin fever that is affecting Luke, Alice and the others, or is there something sinister preying on their fears and vulnerabilities? Most importantly, will they ever make it back to the surface?

THE DEEP is a frightening novel with a surprising introspective streak. Cutter successfully balances the drama aboard the Trieste with what is happening in Luke’s mind and memory. The various strands don’t always come together neatly, but the ragged edges of the story contribute to the overall tension. Cutter also successfully pulls together some classic horror tropes, including creepy crawlies in dark spaces, sadistic bullies, evil creatures, madness, darkness, isolation and more. He throws a lot at his characters (and his readers), and the pace becomes more frantic as the novel moves forward toward its breathless and startling conclusion. THE DEEP is what horror fans know the best of the genre can be: genuinely scary yet still incredibly fun to read.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 23, 2015

The Deep
by Nick Cutter

  • Publication Date: July 28, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Horror
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1476717745
  • ISBN-13: 9781476717746