Review – Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Fantasy, Horror
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A book that went from classic, high school odd to very weird and then full on creepy with little let up, Harrison Squared is a brilliant mix of supernatural strangeness and page turning mystery. Check out the blurb whilst I unpack my thoughts..

Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.

On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Dwellers, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.

Positively leaking with atmosphere, Daryl Gregory manages to ratchet up the tension by degrees with an effortless turn of phrase. Secrets are discovered and weird goings-on reveal hidden horrors as the protagonist, Harrison Harrison, comes ever closer to the truth about his father’s death, his mother’s disappearance, and why the town of Dunnsmouth is so completely odd.

Gregory has created an exception cast of characters that inhabit a world of wonderful creativity. The humour and dialogue keeps the attention firmly planted in the story and little (like backstory) feels forced. The creepy monster is definitely just that and the bit players all have distinct parts. It’s a great book and one that looks set to produce an enthralling series. Harrison Harrison and his gang of misfits may fit a certain mold of story but Harrison Squared is an ingenious and original read.

Review copy
Titan books


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