Book Review: The Trench by Paul Mannering

the trench

Title: The Trench

Author: Paul Mannering

Release date: March 20th, 2017

First, an apology.

Originally, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing Paul’s novel ‘Engines of Empathy.’ I started reading the book and it soon became evident that I was not the right reader for the novel. It has elements of cyberpunk/steampunk/dystopian futures and humor. I’ve never read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ but the ‘Engines…’ was described as being similar in nature and tone so I was intrigued. If that sounds like a book you’d be keen on – definitely give it a look. So, my apologies that I wasn’t able to complete ‘Engines of Empathy.’

But, I still wanted to read something from Paul and when I looked at the available books on Amazon, ‘The Trench’ jumped out at me. I love underwater-alien type books and if that cover doesn’t snag you I don’t know what will.

What I liked: The story starts out with the pedal-to-the-metal and never lets up. Michael and Nicole, two scientists both dealing with their own personal life issues find themselves together one morning when they’re scooped up by the military and transported to a secret submarine research base. Something’s happened and they need to find out what.

Mannering takes a classic story idea and throws us in head first. The action is fast, the death count incredibly high and the reason behind it all as fascinating and engaging.

I really enjoyed how the characters interacted and even the banter that develops between them works well. The survival aspect was great and Mannering made sure to hype the dread that grows with the reality that even if you survive the craziness, you still need to find a way back to the surface.

The ending is fantastic and as with most creature-feature style books does leave us with the possibility of a follow up but I’ve not found any evidence that one has been produced.

What I didn’t like: The one thing that this book has is fast-paced action. So much so that it also created two issues for me. The first was that the characters get to the base and we discover things have already gone south. I always love when we see the creature/alien type entity that always arrives in underwater horror actually arrive, so it was jarring that we were already past that point. The second was that with such a high body count, we don’t get much connection to many of the characters and as they get picked off there isn’t any emotion behind it.

Why you should buy this: If you enjoyed ‘The Abyss’ or Nick Cutter’s ‘The Deep’ this is definitely a book you’ll want to check out. Fast-paced and full of action, Mannering delivers a story that speeds along and will have you gripped from page one until the very end.


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