Whispering Sands is the latest release from Redshift Press due to debut at Thought Bubble later this month and with horror titles creeping into my reading list more and more I was keen to see what this could offer.
The story focuses on fisherman Chen as he teaches his son how to fish in the ocean off Northern Phuket in Thailand at the time of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. The strained relationship between father & son is tangible as Chris Sides writes an account of the disaster that harnesses a supernatural element into the mix alongside the quest for survival.
The fact that these spooky elements are playing out alongside the unbelievable sight of a disaster of this type help bolster a very different type of scare. The fear of nature and the unknown are always made more realistic by any natural disaster but Chris has been able to tap into that with a natural feel to the events and the relationships in particular. A typical run in between Chen and his ex-wife helps spark more of that realistic layer onto what turns out to be well-crafted and fresh take on what could’ve slipped into being a typical disaster retelling. The artwork was unusually bright for a book that was so focused on scares but that seemed to make sense somehow given the surroundings. Freja Steele kept the scale of the events as overpowering as you’d expect with enough consistency to keep the interactions between the characters charged with anger, frustration & fear. Chris Travell’s lettering helped bolster those elements further with his clean touches across the roller coaster of a story…..a win-win across the board from the creative team.
This also included a shorter 10-page story called In the Forest of Scorched Trees which tells the story of a couple trying to escape the shackles of a religious cult that’s firmly focused on a more extreme interpretation of gods “words”. The same team combine just as well and although this was shorter it felt just as involving as the main story and I think I might have actually preferred this one if I’m honest. The dangers of religion are always a tough sell but the build-up is quick and controlled to give a different sense of fear & desperation.
Two different stories form the creative team involved but both act as a strong introduction to Redshift Press for me and I’m sure others will be the same. Less focused on all-out gore than other titles of the genre but the work that’s gone into these is just as powerful and just as intriguing to get lost in.
Keep tabs on this and the other titles from Redshift Press over on their Facebook page and go find them at Thought Bubble in a couple of weeks too.