Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this from Edelweiss for review consideration. If you think that affects my review, you don't know me very well. The Devil and the Deep
was an anthology that sounded kind of interesting to me, but I had no true desire to read it. Mostly because I'm still a bit biased against anthologies, even though I've had some pleasant experiences lately. However, when I saw that it was available on Edelweiss for immediate download, I figured there was no harm in giving it a look-see.
I liked it. Maybe I didn't love it, but I really liked it. It wasn't until I was looking back over the book for this review that I realized exactly how much I had liked it.
Deadwater by Simon Bestwick - the opening story in The Devil and the Deep - immediately got me. I've read Bestwick before, and was as impressed with his ability to make sympathetic characters and handle difficult situations in Feast of All Souls as I was in Deadwater.
Fodder's Jig by Lee Thomas - This was an interesting one. I didn't like most of it because hit on one of my pet peeves. (I can't tell you what it is for spoiling an important part of the story.) However, it was a delightfully open-ended tale, and I liked the whole idea of it.
The Curious Allure of the Sea by Christopher Golden - I normally make neat little notes to remind myself of what I liked about the story on Goodreads. My note for this one was a simple "Hoooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllyyyyyyy Ssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!" So, that's all I'm going to say about that one.
What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong - I like the take on Selkies, though I suppose that's not quite the word. It's a much darker, more gruesome thing than the seal-pelts I'm used to reading about. This was deliciously dark, though I do think the acrylic nails thing was overdone a bit.
Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire was a absolutely fantastic re-telling of the Little Mermaid. It'll send shivers down your spine. (And no, it's not related to her Into the Drowning Deep book.) I absolutely loved this story from beginning to end. Never a misstep!
Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith - This was well-written, completely gross, and fun to read. If you're put off by the idea of reading about bodily functions, I highly suggest you avoid this story.
And, of course, the offering of Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones was the straight up level of weird that I'm coming to expect from him. That man has an odd, odd mind.
Favorite Quotes (Quotes may change in final copy):
"It's the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: they're what we mean by ghosts." - Simon Bestwick, Deadwater
"I've watched enough horror movies to know that if we sleep here, it's going to murder the f*ck out of us." - Alyssa Wong, What My Mother Gave Me
"The problem with social media is that it'll recycle bullsh*t without anybody stopping to check it has any basis in reality-" Michael Marshall Smith, Shit Happens
Overall, while it wasn't my favorite anthology, The Devil and the Deep
had a strong showing. There are a few stories in here, such as Golden's, that should emit a siren's call for any horror fans. Definitely one worth checking out.