Dark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn
Earthling Publications (2021)
$50 limited edition (Sold Out)
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Readers are given an unexpected treat by the sterling Earthling Publications with this novel by a rising star, Ania Ahlborn (yes, she’s been around for awhile — her Seed and The Bird Eater cemented her place in the world of horror and thrillers).
Typically, Earthling chooses a supernatural route, yet with Dark Across the Bay, readers are given a straight-up suspense thriller reminiscent of classic Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Serling. Cape Fear is mentioned as a comparison, yet I believe that it’s a bit unfair to this book. Ahlborn has created a entrancing tale that even takes on a shade of Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, and not because it takes place on an island off the coast of Maine.
Josh Malerman starts the book off with a great introduction, which can only signal that great things are forthcoming.
The Parrish family needs a reboot. With the relationships fraying and lives straying into dark waters, Poppy reserves a week alone with her husband Ezra, teenage daughter Lark, and son Leo far off the coast of Raven’s Head. The demons which inhabit each of the characters cast long shadows and keep the family at the breaking point. Leo’s best friend has recently died, and the ramifications of that are weighing heavy upon his present and future. Lark is a fledgling novelist, struggling to manage her newfound social media status while dodging the darker realms of fandom. Poppy and Ezra hold their own secrets, both from each other and from the kids, which all collide eventually on the stormy rock where the odd rental house sits.
Within the house, nothing is what it appears to be. Odd nooks and crannies appear, doorways and passageways are discovered, and messages emerge apparently without any author.
As the family aims to find their footing and salvage their relationships, they realize they aren’t alone. Someone has joined them on the island…someone from the past who threatens to unravel more than their secrets.
Ania Ahlborn has created another great story with Dark Across the Bay, a highly recommended (as always) offering from Earthling.