A decaying house on Palmetto Lake in Central Florida is the scene of a double murder-suicide and sisters, Summer and Joy, have to clean up the aftermath. Arriving at the house in her RV, Summer (the narrator and older of the two girls) dreads even entering the place her grandparents lived and then died in, murdered by their own daughter who afterward committed suicide. If Summer’d had her way, she would have hired someone to gut the house, but Joy insisted they do it themselves. The sisters are not close and haven’t seen each other in years. Summer, who lives in Atlanta, is married with two children. Joy is alone – a recovering addict. The ties that once bound them together are now broken and they struggle to be civil to one another. Summer just wants to get this job over with, but Joy has questions about their mother and seeks answers within the remnants of the house.
An old flame from her youth appears and Summer finds herself still strangely attracted to him. There are neighbors, too, all of whom seem curiously perfect, not a hair out of place in the bunch. They all also seem to be frozen in time – 1970s. Curious, isn’t it?
I really enjoyed this creepy, atmospheric southern gothic tale! Author Dalrymple keeps the tension high which keeps the reader turning pages. There is something wrong with the residents of Palmetto Lake. But what is it? And, why did Summer’s mother hack her parents to death with a hatchet? The answers will surprise you as they did me. Reading They Come From The Water, I was reminded of a classic horror tale by Robert Marasco, Burnt Offerings, in which the house is strangely linked to what happens to its occupants.
They Come From The Water is highly recommended for those who love gothic fiction and southern (or Florida) gothic in particular.
I want to thank the author for providing me, a voting member of the Horror Writers Association, with a free copy of this novella for consideration of a Bram Stoker Award.