The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson

The Mercy of The Tide


Detailed, emotional, tragic. There you go. I described the book in three words. But they are not enough. Literary fiction is a tricky genre, often trending towards heavy or the melodramatic. However, the concoction of mystery, supernatural and horror brings this book out of its genre.

I received an ARC of The Mercy of the Tide from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had this book with me for three months.
Because the first read was unimpressive. I found the style too descriptive, somewhat tedious. I stopped after reaching one-third.

The second attempt was like a whole new book. What initially felt like a slow start is a gradual build up of the suspense.

A coastal town, a handful of characters with their fates woven together by a series of horrific deaths (one of them being a girl with obsessive dreams of nuclear war), and a mysterious supernatural foe forms the story of The Mercy of Tide.

The author did a phenomenal job in creating each character with their oddities, their habits and their way of dealing with personal tragedies. He has developed the world with such care that you don’t have to imagine hard, he plays well with the reader’s sensory perceptions. The coastal town of Riptide will be forever etched in my mind. Yes, that good.

The dream sequences are vivid, the expression of each character’s grief and inner struggles are evident and touching. Each death, the investigations, their impact on the people of Riptide, form a converging storyline chapter by chapter. Once I could get adjusted to the format, the ending happened too sudden and not as grand as I started expecting.

A note, I selected the book based on cover and description. After reading it twice, I realized that the cover doesn’t do justice to the book.

This review has been posted on Goodreads.

I give The Mercy of the Tide four bohostars and congratulate the author for a remarkable debut. Waiting for the next one.

The Mercy of the Tide Book Cover

The Mercy of the Tide

Keith Rosson

Literary Fiction, Crime thriller, Mystery, Alternate history

Meerkat Press

February 21st 2017




Riptide, Oregon, 1983. A sleepy coastal town, where crime usually consists of underage drinking down at a Wolf Point bonfire. But then strange things start happening a human skeleton is unearthed in a local park and mutilated animals begin appearing, seemingly sacrificed, on the town's beaches. The Mercy of the Tide follows four people drawn irrevocably together by a recent tragedy as they do their best to reclaim their lives leading them all to a discovery that will change them and their town forever. At the heart of the story are Sam Finster, a senior in high school mourning the death of his mother, and his sister Trina, a nine-year-old deaf girl who denies her grief by dreaming of a nuclear apocalypse as Cold War tensions rise. Meanwhile, Sheriff Dave Dobbs and Deputy Nick Hayslip must try to put their own sorrows aside to figure out who, or what, is wreaking havoc on their once-idyllic town. Keith Rosson paints outside the typical genre lines with his brilliant debut novel. It is a gorgeously written book that merges the sly wonder of magical realism and alternate history with the depth and characterization of literary fiction.


  1. sjhigbee

    Yes, this one is very different, isn’t it? Initially I also struggled slightly with the pacing, but once I got into it, I felt it was a remarkable read. Thank you for a great review.

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So what say you?