Short Story Review: Across the Dark Water

Good Morning Everyone,

I’m back again with another review!

Due to the fact that my library still hasn’t gotten my copy of Sorcery of Thorns (no idea what the hold up is), I’ve been increasingly restless. So I flipped the script and looked for a short story freebie for old time’s sake.

The story I picked is Across the Dark Water by Richard Kadrey.

This story is a freebie on You can click here to read it for free!

As always, these stories are a mixed bag. Sometimes you’ll read something great, other times, not so much. So how did I feel about this story? Keep on scrolling!



An uncontrollable plague has left the city in ruins and trapped in perpetual quarantine. A thief hires a guide to lead him safely through the city’s many dangers to the one person who can give him the travel papers he needs to escape.


The Review

I gave this short story four stars!

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with how good this read was, as this was my first time reading anything by this author.

In a nutshell, this story is about a thief who is looking for a way out of a post-apocalyptic city. His quest, to obtain traveling papers, but the road is long, and he’s not sure if he can trust the guide he hired as he heads into unfamiliar territory. Will he make it, or will he end up dead like so many others?

This story was fairly simple, and I liked that.

We have two main characters, the thief and the guide. No names are given, and that’s fine by me. The thief made a lot of sense to me. He’s stuck in this awful dirty, crappy city and wants out no matter the cost. He does have a little backstory involving an ex, but I was mainly entertained by his journey forward, not backward. The interaction between the guide and the thief was really great. Lots of tension there, and I loved the snappy, witty comebacks.

The plot wasn’t complex and I think that was a smart choice, given that this is a short story. This world is dark and apocalyptic, and that’s definitely my cup of tea. I wanted to know everything about it, and that really drove me forward. There are a number of odd creatures sprinkled throughout, some zombielike, some just strange and deranged. That really kept me on my toes throughout the action scenes.

The only thing that kind of irked me was the ending. It just didn’t end the way I wanted it to and seemed a bit abrupt for my taste.

All that being said, this was a solid read, and I’m definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for other works by this author. Give it a go!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this short story review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this story? Are there other short stories you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!

Have a great day!


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  1. It sounds pretty good! I am reading I Left the Room Burning by Beth O’Brien. It’s a collection of dark poetry, but the poems are related, so it’s almost like reading a novella in verse. Very different. Loving it.

    • Thanks! It was one of the more pleasing freebie picks from Tor thus far.
      Oh, that sounds interesting that they’re all interconnected like that. Such a great concept!

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