Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review of "Something Down There" by Nancy Widrew

Review of Something Down There

I was very interested in the premise of this book; the idea had me hooked. I enjoy stories based around cults, and the idea of members of a cult moving into a cave to completely isolate themselves from the outside world seemed like an idea that would hold a lot of tension and potential. The story is a solid attempt by a first-time novelist. Would I read it a second time? Probably not, but I was entertained the first time around and other readers probably would be too.

The basic plot is this: Karen and Jeremy go spelunking, are abducted by the leader of an underground cult, and are forced to assimilate. The tension comes from the couple's desire to reach the outside world again, the failed attempts of a friend to find them, and infidelity on both Karen's and Jeremy's part.

The strength of this novel is definitely in the setting. I enjoyed envisioning the cave, its formations, the waterfalls, and the strange flora. I just recently finished Journey to the Center of the Earth again, and so this was a nice follow-up.

And a couple of critiques. Spoilers ahead!

The cult aspect is underutilized. The members seem more a bunch of misfits rather than a group grounded and ruled by a set of strange, fringe beliefs. Some members claim to be Christian, others not. Fertility rites and gods are hinted at but disappointingly never explored or exploited. The story sort of lost my interest because I was really expecting some "diabolical cult" members, as promised in the blurb. They are cranky and demanding--like squatters sharing a derelict building--but not diabolical. Even the leader, who has somehow mutated to become something subterranean, lacks the charisma, slyness, and fervor I expected.

On top of that, from the very beginning I found both Jeremy and Karen to be unsympathetic. Jeremy is manipulative and downright mean to Karen. I had to question why she was with him in the first place. Because she was weak and gave in to him, I disliked Karen. I wanted her to stand up for herself more than she does.

The ending was unexpected. Granted, at least Karen did not stay with Jeremy, but her change of heart did not seem supported by her point of view leading up to the final decision. I wish there had been more foreshadowing as to Karen's transformation.


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SOMETHING DOWN THERE
Nancy Widrew
Something Down There
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Azure Spider Publications
Publication Date: November 15, 2017)
Not all caves are uninhabited
Horror erupts when newlyweds, Karen and Jeremy, cross paths with members of a diabolical cult inside a West Virginia cave. Living below the earth’s surface has triggered mutations, rendering the cult members nearly infertile. Their leader, a wild-eyed, cunning brute, refuses to let the couple leave, believing they and their potential offspring hold the key to surviving underground. Are Karen and Jeremy doomed to spend their lives inside this sunless, subterranean wasteland, or do they escape before their minds shatter and their bodies betray them?
[Praise]
- [Name], Goodreads Reviewer

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About Nancy Widrew

Nancy Widrew
Nancy Widrew was born and raised in NYC before settling in New England with her husband. She has two grown children and two four-legged furry ones, always a source of amusement. She has had short stories published in webzines and a print anthology. This is her first novel.
Follow Nancy Widrew on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nancywidrew

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