After a fateful accident draws four people together unknowingly, mysterious events begin to happen. A human skeleton is unearthed. Mutilated animals are found along the coast. And a young girl, who lost her mother in the accident, begins to have dreams that predict nuclear apocalypse during the Cold War.
Why this book?: This is me trying to spread my horizons. I’m also desperately trying to get into historical fiction, and figured a good mystery will put me in the mood.
I would like to thank the people at Meerkat Press for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.
The Mercy of the Tide completely comes out of left field, even knowing the summary beforehand. Rosson keeps certain aspects from you, as if to assure that you’ll be shocked when certain things come up. Rosson is obviously a master of orchestrating mood and feeling, hooking me in with his interesting yet evenly paced beginning.
Rosson wastes no time introducing characters, most of which you’ll fall in love with immediately. Dave Dobbs was the perfect grandfatherly figure, while still holding the sharp edge he needs to maintain his status as sheriff. Nick Hayslip, you can tell, is obviously hiding something, which draws you to his character more. Especially seeing the way he feel into his obsession throughout the novel. And the siblings, Sam and Trina Finster, seriously draw in your hearts with their mutual love for each other.
For quite a while, I believed I knew what was going to happen in The Mercy of the Tide. Rosson comes from nowhere, though, and comes up with a completely unique and, honestly, somewhat offensive, solution to his so-called mystery.
Insulting and stereotypical train-wreck
The moment the Native Americans were drawn into the story, I knew something would go wrong. Keith Rosson, as far as I can tell, has no Native American blood, and if he did, he would have known that what he was doing probably wasn’t okay. First it was Toad, a character, using “gay” as an insult, as well as multiple others using “having AIDS” as another insult. Then comes the part where a Native is described as “the color of weak coffee”, and in my experience, I’m pretty sure that you aren’t supposed to used food/drink words to describe a human. Let’s also not forget the huge stereotype of all Native American’s being druggies/alcoholics/rude people. When Rosson described a reservation, he basically described it as a trailer park over-run with trash.
Not only that, but the ending, which Rosson tried to blend with both the mystery of the accident, which wasn’t supposed to be a mystery at all, and the Native American legend (that he 100% made up, I’m pretty sure. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.) I was constantly trying to figure out what was what and what the hell was going on. The ending made completely no sense. The so-called “twist” wasn’t a twist at all, because there was no indication that there was anything wrong to begin with.
Going back to the Native Americans. Rosson didn’t even bother to research into any Native American tribes that were in Oregon. Instead, he completely came up with his own tribe, complete with it’s own legend that made no sense. He gave no other background to this so called “Tumquala Tribe” other than the legend that Hayslip eventually becomes obsessed with.
While I originally thought that the mystery and supernatural elements were amazing, the moment I realized that Rosson was using the stereotypical idea that people had of Native Americans for the ~mystery~, I wanted to chuck the book across the room. While I am not Native myself, I still grew uncomfortable seeing stereotypes like these from someone who obviously didn’t do research.
Would I Recommend?
Not only was it a stereotypical train-wreck, it also used insults that were offensive to me personally. Unless a Native American comes up to me and says that this book is okay and not offensive, my answer will be a firm no.
*Note: This being said, if someone with Native American ties reads this, please tell me what you think! While I still believe that Rosson used clumsy planning for the end of the book, I will definitly consider what others say about this book. As I said before, I’m not Native American myself, but grew quickly uncomfortable with how Rosson was using the Native American culture.
Published: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Meerkat Press
Page Count: 300
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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 officer Nick Hayslip must try to put their own sorrows aside to figure out who, or what, is wreaking havoc on their once-idyllic town.