Has Seraphina’s sister, Eff, joined a cult? And, is that cult responsible for the accident that puts her in the hospital in a coma? Seraphina, an out-of-work actress, is determined to find out. Visiting a farmer’s market where the cult members have a booth, Seraphina befriends one of them, Nichelle, an artist and candle maker. Nichelle invites Seraphina, who is hiding her true identity, to visit the cult at their place of residence – a one-time amusement park called Goblintropolis. Thus, begins Seraphina’s journey into the sometimes whimsical and potentially deadly world of The Merry Dredgers.
Laced with vivid descriptions of the goblin park (I liked the goblin egg babies best) and the sharp and sometimes sarcastic humor of the narrator, Seraphina, The Merry Dredgers is a fascinating and addictive read. The characters that inhabit the park are eccentric and quirky in a New Age sort of way and come across as real people that you might bump into in a town like Sedona, AZ (my hometown) or Taos, NM. The novel is fast-paced as the reader joins Seraphina in trying to ferret out who pushed her sister into that quarry.
The Merry Dredgers was a five-star read for me right up until the end. Then, it fell flat. Questions were left unanswered as the author quickly tied things up a little too neatly. I had expected some sort of twist at the end which would leave me breathless, but instead I felt deflated and a little bit cheated. Still it’s a great read and I wish that goblin park actually existed so I could visit it!
Recommended for fans of dark fantasy and occult fiction.
I want to thank the publisher, Meerkat Press, for providing me, as a voting member of the Horror Writers Association, with a free copy of The Merry Dredgers in consideration for a Bram Stoker Award.