Deep by Aquino Loayza is a story about a small town in Maine where the people tend to make choices that are out of character and a monster lurks among the residents. But it’s not just the one monster or odd choices that the townspeople should be afraid of…
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Deep by Aquino Loayza
Determined to turn over every stone until he knows all of the deep, dark secrets that the town of Juneberg is hiding, Giovanni Divale is obsessed with getting answers. This obsession has already broken his relationship, and when he is called back to town for a personal matter, Gio can’t help but continue looking for answers even when he knows he shouldn’t if there’s any chance he can fix things with his ex.
But little does he know, the answers are going to come to light soon, and there’s nothing he can do one way or the other! Can Gio fight fate? Or is he doomed to repeat the same scenarios over and over again?
First things first, I have to call out this introduction quote. As a born and raised islander, this one hits just right. And what a perfect quote for this book!
The quote reads:
“Every time I slip into the Ocean, it’s like I am going home.” – Sylvia Earle
I really enjoyed how the author set up this tale. As a reader, you get to spend time with each character, really getting to know them and their relationships with either Gio or to the town. Each person seemed to jump right off the page! I also really appreciated that I was able to sense pretty strong vibes about each character, immediately guessing at whether they will be a good one or a bad one. And boy were there loads of bad ones! This town reeked of awful people, only out for themselves and not afraid to put others in the line of fire.
The beginning is a lovely slow opening as we get to see some very real-world scenes play out. But soon enough, Gio and Peter have hit the road and are on their way to the small town in Maine. The minute they cross town lines, the story begins to take a turn into the horror and it’s not long before that horror really dials up!
The action that plays out within this tale doesn’t hold back. While I was thrilled to be deep in the chaos, many scenes, especially toward the end, had so much heart and emotion infused in them. As readers, you get to see this action from all perspectives! And those bad characters I was talking about earlier? Your blood will boil when the story jumps to playing out from their perspective!
I knew the synopsis of this tale going in, but I was still shocked at all the twists and turns that occurred, leading up to the big showdown! What a wild and dark ride this was!
And the big bad, the Slickerman?! My goodness what a terrifying being. I loved that this character pops in and out, but is always threatening their presence behind the scenes. It made the scenes when he was seen so powerful.
My Favorite Passages from Deep
His neck ached in protest from the awkward position he had slept in, and he rotated his neck until several satisfying cracks suggested he was on the right track.
Insecurity and whiskey were a poisonous pill to swallow.
The silence was getting to him. Why the hell was he here? Paranoia flowed through him like the drag of a cigarette filling a lung.
The rain danced across the swooshing waves, which smacked across the granite stones of the coastline. The nameless, formless black brine raged violently against stone, a passive collection of sediment that had outlived countless civilizations and unknowable beasts but never whispered a word of what it had seen.
He blinked – inside the car was the yellow Slickerman, the monster of Juneburg, smiling back at him, his mouth far too wide to be human. In place of his teeth were jagged rocks, like those on the coastline. Salt water with seaweed poured out of his mouth.
“I am thinking, when this is all done, I will book us a nice trip to some place where it doesn’t rain. Hope you guys like camels – the Sahara has my name written all over it.” Peter was firing on all cylinders, dangerous circumstances be damned.
When people went into survival mode, the pathway to barbarity was a quick descent.
My Final Thoughts on Deep
In Deep, the dread and the unsettling atmosphere creeps in like the tide. Soon, the waves of terror are crashing! And before you know it, the tide is slowly creeping back out… As Aquino’s debut, this book is something special. I already cannot wait to see what they do next!
For horror fans, especially readers that enjoy cosmic horror, this is definitely one I would recommend to you!