Terror in the Trench: An Anthology of Aquatic Horror edited by Jay Alexander is a collection of chilling tales all centered around the horrors that await below the surface of the waters.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Terror in the Trench: An Anthology of Aquatic Horror edited by Jay Alexander –
All proceeds from the sale of this book were supped to go to the Shark Trust, but unfortunately, the publisher seems to have disappeared so I can’t confirm whether or not that happened. The three books in the series seem to have been pulled from online retailers as well.
If you would like to snag my copy of Terror in the Trench, it’s listed for sale on PangoBooks.
Shout out to the publisher for including a general content warning at the start of the book, referencing more detailed warnings at the back for anyone who would like to check them out. This was handled wonderfully!
This collection was fun! I have always been drawn to ocean horror being someone who grew up on an island where I saw the ocean every day, so was wicked excited to give this one a read!
There were quite a few tales that I absolutely loved. My favorites from the collection included:
- Distress Call by Laurel Hightower
- Project Whale Song by Kay Hanifen
- The Angler and the Raven by Joshua Marsella
- Deep Purple by Thomas Gloom
- Julia by Andrew Cull
- The Last Dive by Catarina Prata
Per usual, here are my thoughts on each tale:
Distress Call by Laurel Hightower –
Going after her boss who failed to return after checking out a submarine that had resurfaced, this woman is cautious but determined to get him back on board their ship. But little does she know, she’s not alone in the submarine.
I first read this tale in Laurel’s short story collection, Every Woman Knows This. It was even more chilling the second time knowing what was going to happen, but not being sure when.
Project Whale Song by Kay Hanifen –
Displayed as an incident report, we follow the transmissions from a scientific vessel that begin with a mayday and only get more desperate.
I’m not sure what was more terrifying here, the content of the transmissions themselves or the reaction to the case at the end of the incident report.
The Angler and the Raven by Joshua Marsella –
Self-isolating to live a simple life after a tragic incident he still mourns, this man goes out for his usual fishing trip. Little does he know, this will be his last one.
The slow burn beginning here was done so well! By the time the terror kicked in, I was so invested in seeing what would happen.
Deep Purple by Thomas Gloom –
Sent down to investigate a cruise ship, this dive team feels that something is odd before they even hit the water. Of course, they were right to be worried.
The thought of having to investigate a cruise ship underwater is absolutely terrifying to me. I went on one during my class trip and got lost every single day we were on it. I can’t imagine trying to navigate in the water and darkness.
Melancholic Blue by Mocha Pennington –
While on a fancy yacht, this woman has had enough of her abusive husband. She snaps and kills him. Or so she thinks…
The “What are you” scene was so good!
Deepwater Siren by Nicola Kapron –
Going down into Challenger Deep, this sub-operator is distracted by lights. Diving much faster than he should, he soon loses control.
This is such an unsettling tale. The thought of trying to go that deep under the water absolutely terrifies me. And what he finds… Yikes!
Escargot, Except It’s You by Nikki R. Leigh –
Determined to get a rumored deep sea snail in order to up her cooking game, this woman has been plotting for years. Today, she thinks she will get her way no matter what needs to be done.
Wow, what a terrible person this character was! I was rooting for them to fail, but I couldn’t help but be curious to see how their plan would play out if they were successful.
Werewolves and Tentacles by Spencer Hamilton –
Mourning the loss of a loved one, the sister and the boyfriend struggle to keep their grief together while sticking to their mission. But these two have other things they’re struggling to keep in check as well. Letting them loose would be disastrous.
I never thought I’d need a werewolf ocean horror tale in my brain, but here we are. This was SO good. I was so anxious each step of the way and I loved that it started with a scene of terror before stepping back to show us how we ended up there.
Unfathomable by Matthew Stevens –
Diving into a cave underwater in a sub, the comlink cuts out immediately leaving this man alone. His goal is to explore the uncharted cave and he hopes to make new discoveries along the way. But is he ready for what he’s about to see?
Going underwater in a sub is terrifying enough to me… but then to take the sun into an unknown cave system? I was so claustrophobic reading this one!
Light The Way by Megan Kiekel Anderson –
Calling out the monsters humans are, these beings from below are finally sick of watching what humanity is doing to the oceans. They now rise up.
What a chilling short tale packed with brutal truths.
Julia by Andrew Cull –
When a sound recording from the sea is sent to this grieving man, he goes out with a crew to investigate. He says he doesn’t know what’s out there, but as we get flashbacks to his past and travel further into the straight they’re searching in, it becomes clear that he may not have been truthful in saying that.
My gosh, the flashbacks were gut-wrenching. Paired with the mystery and intensity of the current timeline, this story was impossible to put down!
The Last Dive by Catarina Prata –
While on a risky dove, this woman’s light starts to act up. Her diving partner isn’t phased as his curiosity is more interested in a blue light he can see. Soon, there is more anger than just a glitching light.
The author really puts you into this character’s flippers! I caught myself holding my breath a lot while reading this one!
Pressure Differentials by Hannah Hulbert –
Deep under the sea, this crew is focused on repairing oil equipment. Explaining the isolation of the job and all its risk, the one risk they didn’t plan for was a visitor.
This story had me ready to jump out of my skin. I was so ready for a jump scare or something terrible to happen with each step the tale took.
The Many Ghosts of the Deep by Craig Wallwork –
When a plane crash lands in the ocean, these people are shocked to learn that getting out of the plane may put them in a more dangerous position than staying inside…
Jeez, this one is terrifying. Straight out of my nightmares! But what a powerful tale of motherhood too!
The End of the Line by Jack Harding –
Out fishing, this old man struggles to remember. Soon, he’s unsure what year it is and why he’s out there.
This poor man. The dementia element really makes this a tale that can be seen in a few different lights.
My Favorite Passages from Terror in the Trench –
Only minutes ago, the crystal-clear water of the Caribbean and the colours of vibrant ocean life surrounded me. Now, it’s as if I have sealed myself in my own coffin.
— Unfathomable by Matthew Stevens
If you want to save the starving children, you can forget it. If you want to throw millions of dollars at Mars or the Mariana Trench, well, there’s a billionaire for that.
— Julia by Andrew Cull
As the light came back, it had vanished and I could see a problem, spreading into the thick water, almost as dark as the ocean in the deep. Blood.
— The Last Dive by Catarina Prata
My Final Thoughts on Terror in the Trench –
Overall this is a good collection of tales! I had so much fun reading most of the tales and it was great to see some familiar names as well as some new-to-me authors! I really enjoyed the collection overall, even if a few of the tales didn’t hit the mark for me.
This is a great read for fans of ocean horror!
Thanks for reading!
If you would like to snag my copy of Terror in the Trench, it’s listed for sale on PangoBooks!