cover image Middle Waters

Middle Waters

John Clarke. Wet Street, $12.95 trade paper (374p) ISBN 978-0-9863749-1-3

This SF thriller starts out well and displays some nice touches of humor, but the resolution may disappoint genre readers. Clarke, a veteran Navy diving scientist, is especially effective in translating his expertise into fiction in the gripping opening chapter, as an unusual incident claims the lives of two divers off the coast of Alabama. Someone, or something, ripped the helmet off one of the men; the other died of the bends after he saw some “bizarre, bright orange geometric figures” who conveyed a cryptic apology. The mystery of the divers’ deaths, and a slew of other oddities—a patch of cold dark water that kills everything in its path, an extraterrestrial unidentified submerged object—engage scientist Jason Parker. He begins to experience some anomalies himself, including hearing voices advising him to stay alert. There are some light moments; Jason can’t believe that a colleague is “from another planet, especially not a planet of telepathic frogs.” But the suspense of the opening isn’t sustained, and the ending will divide readers along political lines. (BookLife)