Double novels aren’t something you see very often, although they do seem to be most popular with science fiction publishers. On occasion, you’ll see one pop up. Or, in my case, have one delivered to your mailbox for review. Such is the case with Dark Waves by Simon Kearns and Cradle of the Dead by Roger Jackson. This review is for Dark Waves only, but you can read my article on Cradle of the Dead here.
Dark Waves follows John Stedman, an acoustic test engineer who investigates and debunks hauntings by revealing them to be caused by infrasound (sound below 20 Hz which can give humans the feeling of a supernatural presence). However, Stedman is about to undertake his most daunting case yet: The Dawlish Inn, a 15th century tavern reputed to be the source of a powerful haunting. Teaming up with a journalist and a photographer, Stedman sets out to debunk the haunting. But are there some things that science just can’t explain? What, exactly, is causing the strange events in the cellar of the Dawlish?
Compared to Cradle of the Dead, Dark Waves is a much slower paced and immersive work. It pulls you in and wraps you up in its surroundings, dropping little bits of scares here and there as it slowly ratchets up the tension. The characters are well-drawn, though rather meh for my tastes, but you will find yourself interested in their fates. Kearns writes in a terse and crisp style that keeps the story from getting stuck in a rut. The information on infrasound is interesting and shows Kearns did his homework. So kudos on that.
My only major complaint is the climax. Dark Waves builds to what is expected to be an awesome climax but winds up being a huge letdown. While I can appreciate that Kearns tried something different, the ending will leave some readers feeling like they’ve been cheated.
Despite this fault, Dark Waves is still a recommended read for those interested in haunted houses and the science behind hauntings.
Dark Waves is available from Blood Bound Books in paperback (coupled with Cradle to the Grave) and e-book.