I receive offers to review books on a fairly regular basis. Usually I quickly decline as my to be read pile has taken on a life of its own and currently looks like it might outlive me. But when Marcel Admiraal's collection of horror stories Beneath Dark Waters arrived in my in-box I realized I hadn't read any horror for years and I couldn’t resist having a look, and I was pleased I did as I read the tales in one sitting.
As the author is Dutch there are a few times when sentences lose something in the translation, but I enjoyed the tales enough for this not to matter. Marcel's stories have a gentle, old-fashioned structure that I like in horror in which real people are given time to find their voice before something nasty happens. And then the something nasty is revealed in creepy ways rather than as a gorefest of the kind that drove me away from reading horror in the first place. The tales have a sense of place, namely Holland, which is lovingly described and makes the situations all the more believable (I live in a flat, rural area so that added to the effect!).
Of the tales, Those Strange Beautiful Fishes is my favourite with its simple tale of a day spent fishing, except all is not as it seems...
You can read more about Marcel and his fiction at Floating Robes.