~Drowned Sorrow, Vanessa Morgan
When author Vanessa Morgan emailed me about reviewing her work, her novella, Drowned Sorrow, a supernatural thriller, captured my interest. Vanessa is also the author of The Strangers Outside (released in September 2010), a Kindle short story that's being made into a movie, filmed in Belgium.
Published in 2008, Drowned Sorrow is the story of a reporter, Megan Blackwood, who is anguished over the death of her 18-year-old son, Josh. Saddled with deep sorrow and guilt, Megan leaves her job, her marriage dissolves, and she decides to take a trip to a tiny, remote village called Moonlight Creek with her 14-year-old daughter, Jenna, and their dog, Oscar, in an attempt to reconnect with her daughter and begin healing. Although it was recommended to them by a friend, Moonlight Creek turns out to be a strange and ominous place, which always smells like mildew. Residents seem to possess an odd connection to the dark and sinister lake, the town's centerpiece. There is something supernatural about the lake that affects everyone in the village. For Meagan and Jenna, things go from bad to worse over the course of a few days stay at Nigel Matthew's damp, shabby hotel in Moonlight Creek.
After reading only a few pages of Drowned Sorrow, I was immersed in the story. Both the setting and the characters are well-crafted. Wonderful, creepy details abound, such as walls and ceilings that leak water around the corners and edges, and a grocery store that only sells water, which add to the menacing atmosphere. I can imagine this as a movie, with the eerie, icy cold lake that seems to have a mind of its own, the pallid, expressionless villagers, and the constant, dreary rain, dampness, and puddles. As I huddled with Drowned Sorrow and a cup of tea on my reading couch, the weather outside conspired with the book and it rained as I read (an unusual event for Southern CA at this time of the year). I was shocked not only by the chilling contents but by how great I thought this book was. It's everything horror fiction should be: creepy, scary, suspenseful, and yet also touching.
I thought this was a great read! Vanessa Morgan is a very talented screenwriter and novelist. Drowned Sorrow will be made into a movie, directed by Drew Barrymore. I can see this as the next The Shining, and will rush out to see the movie, even if Vanessa reneges on her promise to use me as an extra. ;)