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Sonja Ska Reviews, 3/7/2024

Lovely, Dark & Deep 

By Megan Stockton

Calling Lovely, Dark & Deep a quintessential creature feature feels both accurate and dismissive as Stockton blends various elements of horror to create something that feels entirely unique, even if it's wrapped in a familiar package. 

Set against the background of a record-breaking storm, a few residents of Six Miles Island decide to bunker down instead of taking the ferry to the mainland and quickly realize there's much more to fear than losing power. I can't remember the last time I was this painfully invested in the fate of a group of characters, and it's a testament to Stockton's writing how easy it is to empathize and like everyone. I wanted to reach into the page and protect them, but all it amounted to was papercuts and blood.

While Stockon takes some time setting up various relationships and an almost idyllic sense of what it means to live on the island, she wastes no time ripping everything apart. Short, tense chapters guide you through an intense fight for survival that's as gruesome as it is heartbreaking. Seriously, you won't walk away feeling okay. By the time you finish, you're going to be bruised and battered from being tossed around the surf and immediately wary of the smell of the ocean being carried in by the wind.

Eerie, atmospheric, and surprisingly heartfelt, Lovely, Dark & Deep once again reminds me why Stockton has quickly become one of my favorite authors. This is perfect for fans of creature features, small-town horror, and the inescapable feelings that come with 30 Days of Night and The Thing. 

I stopped giving star ratings, but this is easily a 5-star read. 

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