WYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. Nevill
Ritual Limited (October 2020)
106 pages; $7.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann
In the third collection of horror stories from Adam Nevill, something is missing. The “who” and the “what” and the “why” aspects of the story have been intentionally omitted from the narrative and it’s up to you, the reader, to discover and discern these things for yourselves.
Doesn’t that sound…
Because it is.
Readers are invited to engage with these tales as though they are encountering the aftermath of some horrific tragedy. Nevill employs his vast vocabulary and skill to be your eyes and ears as you experience a strange new environment littered with signposts of violence.
The first story, “Hippocampus,” sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Tread lightly. You are the first to explore a vessel at sea. There is something wrong — mundane tasks like food preparation have been interrupted. Something has happened to the crew. Fear and trepidation well up inside you as everything points toward your eventual discovery of a body, or two, or more.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in these stories. I felt like there was an intimate, shared space between author and reader. An entirely new experience because I didn’t go wandering off into the story getting lost in the lives of fictional characters. It was just Nevill, right there on the page, describing a scene for me, and all I had to do was trail behind him and take in the mental pictures. When I found myself stopping to collect clues and breadcrumbs, Nevill assured me, “I’ll wait.”
“Low Tide” was a standout favorite because I have always had a healthy fear of the ocean and its inhabitants. The last line of that story is so ominous, implying a much bigger picture; a suggestion that the story had only just begun.
At the end of your journey through these derelictions, Nevill has story notes. I’m a huge fan of story notes — those delicious insights into the mind that gave life to everything that was just encountered. WYRD and Other Derelictions is an inventive, fresh concept that really worked for me. I’m recommending it for horror fans who love getting sucked into elaborate exposition and world-building supplied with vivid imagery.