Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: The Canal by Daniel Morris

In The Canal by Daniel Morris, a deadly monster lurks beneath the waste and stink of a city’s sewage canal, leaving behind the skinned remains of its victims. Detective Joe Lombardi has a certain affinity for solving canal crimes, so he’s put on the case. His tragic past has afforded him a familiar relationship with the canal, much to the chagrin of his square partner, Alan. Alan loathes Joe and the sloppy way he dresses and conducts himself. Alan hopes to solve this case for himself so he can get rid of Joe once and for all.

Yet, as they investigate the case they realize the true sinister nature of the murderer and that it just might not be human. The case begins to eat away at both Joe and Alan as more details surface about the murders and they must act quickly before the canal takes any more victims.

The Canal is a definite page-turner, dripping with atmosphere and oozing suspense. Author Daniel Morris gruesomely describes the polluted world of the canal and the gritty city it runs through. You can almost taste the brackish water of the canal and smell its pungent sewage stench through the pages. Several scenes (including several where different characters take the plunge into the diseased waters) had me dry-heaving because like the character of Alan I’m a bit of a neat freak and germaphobe. So reading about people taking a dive into the crusty, sludgy and heavily polluted water that’s not just swimming with nasty diseases but a flesh-eating monster had my toes curling and me squirming in my seat!

I also love how we are just given quick glimpses of the mutated monstrosity of the creature that don’t give away too much. Bit by bit we see more and more, until at the end when you see just how terrifying the monster really is. I think that by holding back the author made the final reveal all the more terrifying!

The author also did a fine job developing each of the characters. I was both intrigued and disgusted by Joe and while I though Alan was initially a prick, I warmed up to him. All of the other characters, from the homeless Rose to the uptight and immaculate “downtown” detective brought in to run the case to the mysterious Paul who treats the monster like a pet and so on, were just as interesting and really helped propel the story along, adding plenty of layers and nooks and crannies to explore.

I also thought the subtle environmental message of being careful what we throw away and being aware of where our waste goes was appropriate and timely. You can either embrace the message or disregard it, but it is definitely there for those that wish to acknowledge it.

The Canal is a great read, offering many twists, turns, sights and smells that you won’t soon forget! It’s a gumshoe murder mystery with a truly terrifying monster and will make you think twice about what might be lurking in the sewage canals of your city!

Order it on Amazon!

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