Blurb: Jayce’s twenty-year-old daughter Emory is missing, lost in a dark, dangerous realm called Shadow that exists alongside our own reality.
An enigmatic woman named Nicola guides Jayce through this bizarre world, and together they search for Emory, facing deadly dog-eaters, crazed killers, homicidal sex toys, and – worst of all – a monstrous being known as the Harvest Man.
But no matter what Shadow throws at him, Jayce won’t stop.
He’ll do whatever it takes to find his daughter, even if it means becoming a worse monster than the things that are trying to stop him.
Absolutely terrifying, The Mouth of the Dark is an urban fantasy-horror that draws out some of our darkest atavistic fears then gently draws our attention to the fragility of our defences.
We follow Jayce, and are initiated alongside him into the horrors of Shadow, where everything is wrong, so wrong, and things are definitely not always what they seem. Still Shadow is no writhing hellscape, but an alternative urban societal structure that exists alongside our own, with us (mostly) unawares.
I was reminded of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, but Jayce is no bolshy John Taylor striding confidently into that bad night. Instead we have a protagonist who is angry and scared, and just wants his daughter back and for this whole ‘adventure’ to have been a nightmare he can blink and forget…just like he did before.
In addition to the obvious visceral creeping horrors, there are also some pretty explicit sexual scenes including a very disturbing rape and Jayce being confronted with very graphic evidence of his daughter as a sexual being. These scenes are supposed to shock and disgust, and Tim Waggoner employs them very effectively to increase the tension and vary the horror reactions the reader experiences.
More than horror and fantasy, this novel explores our concepts of ourself as a ‘good person’ or a ‘monster’ and how extreme situations can blur those lines, or experiences can change them over time. Despite seeing events from Jayce’s point of view, the author manages to slip in some sneaky twists along the way, as Jayce is a master of denial and self-deception, and therefore not the most reliable narrator despite his inherent honesty.
Absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone who loves their urban fantasy on the pitch-black side, or their horror…well, pretty much all the horror is covered here.
Warning: I’m writing this review at midday with all the lights on…just in case!
Jayce is about to open the stall door when he senses he’s not alone. A tingle on the back of his neck, a tightening of his stomach muscles, a sharpening of all his senses… All of these things scream at him that someone else is in the restroom. More, that this someone else is now on the other side of the stall door. He still hasn’t heard whoever it is make so much as a whisper of a noise, but when he looks down at the floor he sees a pair of bare feet standing there, framed between the floor and the bottom edge of the stall door, and he has to clap his hand over his mouth to keep from crying out.
– Tim Waggoner, The Mouth of the Dark
The Mouth of the Dark releases on Amazon on 6th September 2018, but is available to preorder right now!