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

cover for 100 fathoms below
© Blackstone Publishing, 2018.
This review contains spoilers


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.

Via Goodreads


I love books that take place under the sea–particularly horror books. If you’ve read my review on Something’s Alive on the Titanic, you probably already know that. (It’s a great book by the way, and its author is Robert Serling–brother to Rod Serling.) It’s only natural that I selected 100 Fathoms Below when I read its nautical, and eerie, description.

And here’s where my spoiler comes in, because I’m about to go on a mini-rant. The synopsis hints at a mysterious, evil monster hunting the crew of the ship, but it does not say what that creature is. Therefore, I feel that revealing this is a book about vampires is, in fact, a spoiler–contrary to popular belief of other reviewers. It’s pretty obvious early on, with the first hint coming in at 8%, however if I’d known this was a vampire book before I chose it, I wouldn’t have taken the time to read it. The key word there is BEFORE. Because I had it spoiled by a straight up summary of the prologue on Goodreads, coupled with a pretty hearty description about the… well, vampires. So, now that you know that overly used trope is here, let’s take a moment to discuss what Kent and Kaufmann do right, shall we?

The vampires in 100 Fathoms Below are good ol’ classic boys, in the sense that they’re bloodthirsty and want nothing more than to maim and breed more of their kind. They aren’t romanticized, either–and that’s a great thing. In fact, they’re written well enough that, despite having been spoiled by a fellow reviewer, I enjoyed the book enough to finish it. Mostly because I wanted to see how things ended.

Something else Kent and Kaufmann excel at is creating a connection between the readers and characters. I found myself sharing the hopes and dreams of many of the figures we meet. That made some of the deaths a lot more difficult on me.

The plot is quick, making it an easy read; however, the sense of intrigue isn’t really there. The whole discovering a prototype Soviet submarine takes the back burner with an occasional mention and even when it does come back into play toward the end of the book, there’s not exactly any excitement or fear of them being caught. I found that to be a bit disappointing.

Overall, it’s an entertaining read, but I probably wouldn’t take the time to re-read it. I’d like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 💀💀💀



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