Book Review: Drowned Sorrow by Vanessa Morgan

February 1, 2011
Title: Drowned Sorrow
Author: Vanessa Morgan
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Format: Paperback
Year Published: 2010
Source: I was sent this book for review.

Drowned Sorrow is a horror novel by Vanessa Morgan. The main character, Megan Blackwood, is a famous investigative reporter. Her career is the most important thing in her life. She has not paid too much attention to her husband and children. She is currently planning on doing a story on cults.

Her daughter tries frantically to contact her one day by leaving messages with the receptionist, but Megan is too "busy" to call her back. When she gets home, she learns that her son has accidentally killed himself. He slashed his wrists to teach his mother a lesson and by the time the sister called the police it was too late -- he had bled to death.

Megan's family falls apart. She and her husband Michael divorce. Megan even quits the job she loves, because she blames herself and her obsession with her career for her son's suicide. She rejects all attempts to really communicate with her daughter, Jenna. 

Several months after the tragedy, Megan and Jenna decide to go away to the seemingly idyllic small town of Midnight Creek.

But Midnight Creek is a place of secrets. Why are the walls all leaking? Why does it rain continuously? Why does no one ever leave Midnight Creek? The inhabitants of Midnight Creek seem almost like a cult that Megan has stumbled into by accident. Is it by accident or by design?

The story is definitely creepy and freaked me out, although I do believe that there are quite a few inconsistencies in the story.

For example, toward the end of the book her husband and daughter tell Megan that the son didn't really mean to kill himself; he was just trying to get his Mother's attention. This comes as a shock to Megan. I'm not sure why, when she was told this the very day of his suicide by the police.

Why didn't the police show up at her place of work? If there was so much blood after the son slit his wrists, why didn't the daughter call an ambulance before she called the mother? If Jenna couldn't get hold of her mother through the receptionist, why doesn't her daughter call her on her cell phone -- or at least text her as any modern texting-obsessed American teenager would do? Someone like Megan would surely have a Blackberry or iPhone!

Also, as soon as they reach Moonlight Creek, the place seems desolate -- completely deserted. When they do see people, the residents are not exactly friendly but stare at them as if they never see strangers. Megan must make a lot of money, being on national television for eight years, so you'd think she'd go someplace a little fancier. The hotel room is very old (it still has dial phones!), it is musty-smelling and the bathroom walls are seriously leaking. The desk clerk is also creepy. I would not feel comfortable with him, especially with a pretty teenage daughter. I would leave immediately.
There are also smaller errors: Americans go on "vacation" instead of "holiday" and go to "college" instead of "university". Little details are important, too.

I also believe that the characters could have been drawn-out a bit more. The husband is a rather shadowy figure. The book is short -- it probably should be longer! More character development would have helped in understanding the characters and why they do the things they do.

The book, however, definitely has a strong creepiness factor and if you like horror novels you should like this book.

If Jaws kept you away from the ocean, this book will keep you away from any water!
I can definitely visualize this novel being turned into a movie!

You can read Vanessa Morgan's blog here.

You can check out the website for this book here.

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