Book Review: 100 Fathoms Below by Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufman

100 Fathoms Below

Author: Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufman
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing (October 9, 2018)
Kindle edition, 272 pages
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100 fathoms below …The depth at which sunlight no longer penetrates the ocean.1983. The US nuclear submarine USS Roanoke embarks on a classified spy mission into Soviet waters. Their goal: to find evidence of a new, faster, and deadlier Soviet submarine that could tip the balance of the Cold War. But the Roanoke crew isn’t alone. Something is on board with them. Something cunning and malevolent.Trapped in enemy territory and hunted by Soviet submarines, tensions escalate and crew members turn on each other. When the lights go out and horror fills the corridors, it will take everything the crew has to survive the menace coming from outside and inside the submarine.In the dark.Combining Tom Clancy’s eye for international intrigue with Stephen King’s sense of the macabre, 100 Fathoms Below takes readers into depths from which there is no escape. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

I got a little hung up on all the nautical terminology in the beginning of this book, and it almost made me stop reading it a few times, but it was compellingly written enough that I kept reading. I also expected it to be about some sort of deep sea beasty, and instead was more of a vampires on a submarine type story. (Which makes sense, because if vampires hate the sun it makes sense they’d like it deep under the ocean where there is no sun, right?) There were a lot of really great, intriguing things about this book. I found myself caring about several of the characters, especially some of the ones who end up surviving (which makes sense, I suppose?) Several times I thought I knew for sure what was coming next, but then was completely (in a good way) surprised by what actually happened next. This book kept me constantly on my toes and it was really great… when it wasn’t being bogged down with nautical terminology and by everyone having multiple names. 

For example, Jerry White is referred to as “Jerry” in the chapters that are told in the third person limited POV that “follow” him and his limited POV, while he is referred to as “White,” unless the person gets to be friends with him at which point he might be called “White” sometimes and then sometimes “Jerry.” Then if someone is an officer they might also sometimes be referred to only by their title, which also sometimes is shorted to an acronym, so some people have, like, four names they’re referred by. By the end of the book I was used to it, and now I’m primed and ready to read ALL THE NAVY FICTION, haha. I am really glad I stuck with this through the first few chapters of describing all the nautical terms, parts of the sub, explanations about life with 140 men on a submarine and what that means for them, etc. It was necessary world building to set the stage for the story, but it was a bit of a dry slog to get through for the first three chapters or so before the story really picked up steam. But once it got going, MAN, this book was hard to put down.

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