"It Waits Below" by motion picture screenwriter and director Eric Red
(Samhain, $16) is an action-packed, underwater thriller that packs a
powerful punch, liable to keep you up all night, feverishly turning
The oversized paperback opens with a brief prologue that sets
up the rest of the quirky novel's premise. An asteroid carrying an
alien life form
hurtles through the atmosphere in 1853, crushing the Spanish warship
Corona and sending all of its crew to a deep watery grave.
Then the novel jumps ahead 160 years, where a major underwater
salvage company has discovered the wreckage almost three miles down.
They go to the site and launch "The Neptune", a specially
designed three man DSV (Deep Submersive Vehicle) which can reach those
distant depths safely. Their goal is to find and bring to the surface
the estimated $30 million gold bullion treasure that the Corona was
The three people in the bathyscaphe have varying degrees of
experience, including Captain Sebastian Enright, one of the owners of
the salvage company. Pilot Oleg Polidori is a former Russian sailor
and Jane Clark is the attractive apprentice pilot.
The crew's problems begin when they reach their goal, also
discovering a deadly extraterrestrial life form that's been waiting
Their challenges multiply as they are trapped deep below the
surface and their support ship is attacked by nasty, gun-wielding,
The action really picks up in the second half of the book, where the
frenzied submarine crew fights desperately for survival, trying a variety
of methods to escape their potential watery grave.
The alien organism significantly becomes more of a deadly threat; it
could easily decimate life on Earth if it accomplishes its hungry goals.
Eric Red has written a variety of motion picture scripts, including the
original 1986 movie "The Hitcher" starring Rutger Hauer. He's also
directed films for Showtime, Paramount, Warner Bros. and others.
While there are distinct similarities to a trio of underwater
came out in 1989 ("The Abyss", "Leviathan" and "DeepStar Six", this could
easily be made into a very scary motion picture.
Although this is only his second novel and could use a bit
more character development, it's highly entertaining, providing solid
escapism and tense suspense.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has
reviewed thrillers and crime novels regularly since 1987.
Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.
Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on October 19, 2014.