Into the Cruel Sea – A Review

Posted: November 8, 2009 in Uncategorized
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One of the reasons I decided to join Rich Ristow in his venture known as Bandersnatch Books, was his novella “Into the Cruel Sea”. Known for his stunning poetry, and excellence as an editor, Rich’s fiction is certainly nothing to sneeze at either.

When a novellette  opens with someone having just sawed their parents heads off, you want to read more. No, you’re compelled to read more. In doing so you meet a cast of characters, that in lesser hands could be nothing more than caricatures, yet in Ristow’s hands, they all seem vibrant, alive and all too real. You have your maladjusted teen; the abusive alcoholic father; co-dependent mother; adoring younger brother; party girl best friend; and of course sea creatures with sharp teeth.

ItCS is relatively simple in its plot. That’s by no means a criticism, as there’s not much you can fit in 54 pages or so; yet what’s there resonates with you, and leaves you thinking about it long after you finish the tale. In fact, if I had a criticism for it, it would simply be it’s too damn short. I wanted to know more about the sea creatures, what they are, where they live and how they survive.  Yet that weakness, is in certain aspects a strength. Too often writers overly explain things, and in this case, I think Rich hit the amount of monster appearances given the shortness of the tale.

Here’s hoping the creatures make an appearance in a future work by the talented Mr. Ristow.