Miller is a university professor of marine biology who takes
one of his attractive students on a trip to a small island
in the Santa Rosa Sound in the Florida Keys, to study the
effects of pollution. Unfortunately, his opportunity to be
alone with her is lost when she invites along her arrogant
boyfriend Scotty. But that's the least of his troubles. A
black tide of microbes is released into the river and cuts
off their escape from the island. The tide brings with it
an airborne cloud which attacks and burns the skin. Miller
and his companions escape the assault by burying themselves
in the sand, but the islanders are not so fortunate. They
run, burning, into the water and do not emerge... That is
until the night. Highly sensitive to light, they remain beneath
the water waiting for the safety of darkness. Then like horrible
parodies of human beings they rise intent on biting living
beings and spreading their disease. How many nights can Miller
and his party last? And is it safe to escape the island?...
have made this book a very attractive package: a large format
paperback, with good quality paper and a striking cover. I
began reading Black Tide full of expectation, but soon
became bored with the stereotyped characters and the hackneyed
vampire / zombie format. I had to take several breaks in order
to return to another, more satisfying book.
I'll admit that the name Del Stone Jr. held no recollection
for me, and I was surprised to discover that not only has
this writer had several short stories published, but his previous
novel, Dead Heat, won the International Horror Guild's
award and was runner-up for the Bram Stoker award. Furthermore,
this novella has been optioned for a film.
All very impressive, you'll agree. However, although the story
does improve with perseverance, it borrows from too many sources.
People new to horror may well thoroughly enjoy this, but aficionados
will have seen it all before. Perhaps it will work better
as a movie, though the screenwriter and director will need
to avoid the predictable set-pieces from the book.
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