Grant (Feedback, 2017, etc.) expands on her novella Rolling in the Deep (2015), about a reality TV show that goes searching for mermaids in the Mariana Trench and finds much more than it bargained for.
In 2015, Imagine Entertainment, known for its schlocky horror films (its founder, James Golden, was dubbed Monster Midas by his fans and the King of Schlock by his critics), sent the ship Atargatis, stocked with scientists and actors, to film Lovely Ladies of the Sea: The True Story of the Mariana Mermaids. The ship was found empty, and footage from the voyage revealed humanoid creatures viciously slaughtering the crew. One of the victims was Anne Stewart, and seven years later, when her younger sister, Tory, a graduate student studying acoustic marine biology, gets fired from her job, she’s free to accept an offer from Imagine to go out on the Melusine; the company hopes to find the truth about the mermaids while clearing its own name. Tory, of course, wants to avenge Anne’s death. Along for the ride is Tory’s research partner, Luis Martines; Dr. Jillian Toth, a marine biologist anxious to prove her theories about mermaids; deaf identical twins Holly and Heather Wilson, one of them an organic chemist and the other the owner of a deep-water submersible who's determined to find the bottom of Challenger Deep; and a pair of comically amorous big game hunters who want to be the first ones to take down (and consume) a mermaid. What they find is beyond both their wildest dreams and their darkest nightmares. Readers will recognize echoes of Jurassic Park and the like, which isn’t a bad thing, and Grant works in smart observations on climate change and exploitation of sea mammals without sounding preachy. The book is overlong, and the parenthetical asides can be distracting, but no matter, because Grant’s heady brew of visceral horror, fascinating science, and, of course, the hubris of mankind in the face of the awesome unknown is irresistible.
A claustrophobic, deep-sea terror tale that will leave readers glad to be safely on dry land.