Tidepool by Nicole Wilson

Hello Folks
Nice slice of Cosmic Horror for you today!


If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise…

In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother.

When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives.

However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret.

With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town.

Lovecraftian dark fantasy gets a modern treatment in this terrifying debut novel


Monsters live in the waters of Tidepool, and they are hungry. However, there is only one woman that comes between the monsters and the town.

After her brother, Henry Hamilton disappears in 1913 on a business trip to determine if Tidepool is ripe for redevelopment and to capture the hearts of rich socialites. Sorrow Hamilton (so named because her mother died whilst giving birth to her) travels to the town of Tidepool, despite her father’s explicit instructions to leave it to the menfolk, and attempts to investigate what happened to her beloved brother.

What she discovers is a town where everyone keeps their mouth closed tighter than a rich folk’s purse at a charity dinner, strange goings on and legends of monsters beneath the waves. 

Playing with the tropes of cosmic horror, Nicole Wilson fashions a story of otherworldly terror that will surely win the hearts of anyone who is familiar with Lovecraft’s Shadow over Innsmouth.

Yes, the story does have more than a passing resemblance to Lovecraft’s tale of monsters from the depths, but she instils it with an originality that soon makes the book rise above its influence. Mainly due to the characters that inhabit the closed lipped town. 

For one, Sorrow Hamilton, who is not as her name suggests, a black entrenched goth intent on all the darker things in life. No, she’s a lively character that has an emancipatory spirit to her and does not need the intervention of the menfolk around her. However, at times you can have a little consternation at her character as she does tend to treat those around her with a slight impatience that borders on rude. 

As Sorrow travels around the Town of Tidepool, she comes across all sorts of other interesting characters, such as the widowed Mrs Ada Oliver, who seems to have the townsfolk in thrall. So much so that she has her own chair in the local Inn that no one is allowed to sit in. Even when she is not there. Then there’s the socially awkward Quentin Ramsay, who for some reason behaves rather oddly but takes a shine to Sorrow. 

Finally, there’s Charlie, her brother’s best friend and Sorrow’s secret crush. Not only that he tends to resemble an excitable Labrador puppy at every given moment. 

As Sorrow digs deeper into her brother’s disappearance, she uncovers the terrible secrets at the heart of Tidepool, and what do they have to do with Mrs Oliver’s mysterious Daughter, and the bodies on the beach. Not only that, despite her best attempts the town won’t seem to let her leave.

Tidepool is an enjoyable slice of cosmic horror that has all the things that you would expect in a story of this kind, secrets, quirky inhabitants and monsters. However, it is the characters that you cannot help liking and the quick moving pace of the story that keeps it moving along to its conclusion. Not only that, Nicole Wilson keeps it simple. She doesn’t entrench the tale with massive amounts of information and lore, which makes this an accessible way to get into the genre. 


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