The Wicked Deep
By Shea Ernshaw
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Bang Bang Review
So there’s these three young ladies who happen along a small seaside town that absolutely HATES outsiders and I know this because the author reminds us ad nauseam. These ladies are not special besides their beauty and all the men, including the married ones, fall in love with them so the town agrees that they are witches and decide to drown them in the lake or sea or some body of water. This has become the 200 year old legend of this SMALL town and every year since those ladies were drowned, three boys are drowned. During the summer, people come from all over the country because of this legend and to see boys drown-the perfect vacation for the family.
Penny, our MC, is a plain gal who never wants to leave her town and is left to take care of her mother who is depressed over the sudden vanishing of her husband. Penny’s mother is also a tea leaf reader and has foretold that Penny will meet a mysterious guy-enter mysterious guy named Bo. Bo of course is dark and brooding. He has a nice body and great hair and he’s O so handy. Bo is a skeptic and doesn’t believe in the bullshit of these three witches but Penny does and she has a secret that I won’t share but I’ll remind you of her secret throughout my review so you can experience the agony I felt while reading this book. For 100/380 pages, Penny, her secret, and her best friend, attend an end of the year party with tropey classmates where Bo comes to her rescue. Penny and her secret spend time with Bo trimming hedges and discussing the town’s legend. The POV shifts from Penny and her secret to introduce the witches 200 years prior.
Finally after 100 pages, someone dies. Then the teens in the town loose their fucking minds and choose some random classmate to lock and tie in a boat house because they believe her to be a witch. They have no proof and the teen captors then proceed to argue that she’s a witch and no you can’t just be judge and jury. Hmmm, is this a modern day version of what happened to the witches 200 years ago? YES, WE’RE NOT DUMB. Penny, her secret, her best friend, and Bo just leave that girl locked up for days with no toilet.
Some stuff we all see coming happens, Penny reveals her big secret, Penny and Bo fall in love after a couple of weeks, more boys die, the mystery behind Penny’s father’s disappearance is told, and blah blah blah.
Wicked Deep had an interesting idea but the execution-YIKES! Ernshaw tried to do something by adding the disappearance of the father and jumping back 200 years to tell the witches story but her writing just isn’t strong enough to make this book stand out. The storytelling is basic. The witches arrive and since they are independent ladies, they go to bars and drink and talk loudly-oooh scandalous. They jokingly say they are witches and then the townspeople drown them. That’s literally how their story is told; no nuance or character development. There’s nothing new or special about Penny or Bo and they fall in love too quickly. And finally, this town has a population of 2000 people so if you do the math, three boys die every year for 200 years-that’s 600 people. That’s 1/3 of their town. If three teen boys were drowned every year in my smallish town, it wouldn’t be a vacation destination, people would be moving in droves. And that ending-SERIOUISLY?!
I didn’t like this book.