KC Jones’ Black Tide, a character-driven science fiction/horror novel that explores what happens after a cataclysmic event leaves the world crawling with nightmares, will be published by Nightfire in May 2022!
A story with a cinematic feel, Black Tide is Cujo meets A Quiet Place.
It was just another day at the beach. And then the world ended.
Mike and Beth didn’t know each other existed before the night of the meteor shower. A melancholy film producer and a house sitter barely scraping by, chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.
After a drunken and desperate one-night-stand, the two strangers awake to discover a surprise astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only a part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a set of lost car keys leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast, when their emergency calls go unanswered and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for the car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must find in each other the strength to overcome past pain and the fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.
The comp titles – Cujo and A Quiet Place – immediately piqued my interest, and a beach setting sealed the deal.
Like Cujo, much of this story is spent with the two main characters trapped in a car. As in A Quiet Place, silence is the best way to avoid these invading creatures. A little over two hundred fifty pages, this is a well-paced, quick read, and the action starts almost immediately. At first glance, Beth and Mike aren’t people you’d bet on to survive an alien invasion. Beth is irresponsible and basically a trainwreck, and Mike is teetering on a life and death decision in his personal life. But you play the hand you’re dealt.
After both characters have bizarre experiences during the night (dreams? hallucinations?), their day gets even worse when they go to the beach and discover they weren’t dreaming or imagining things. Their world has been invaded, and the beach is being attacked. The descriptions of the alien creatures are creepy and very visual. Some of the scenes are fairly graphic, so if you’re a reader who prefers to avoid gore you might want to skip some paragraphs. The characters run into one obstacle after another in their attempts to survive, and there are plenty of tense scenes to sink your teeth into. Most are within the confines of a small car, and with two adults, a dog, and sweltering temps during the day it can feel pretty claustrophobic.
I like the way the author chose to end the story, leaving a feeling of hope for the characters because the odds sure aren’t in their favor. Black Tide is an intriguing blend of sci-fi and horror providing terror-filled visual scenes for fans of the genres.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.