Phil Rossi’s Crescent was a bit of an odd read for me. I started off with actually listening to the podcast version, but partway through decided to go ahead and switch over to reading the Kindle edition. So this is a bit of a hybrid review.
Salvage pilot Gerard Evans accepts a job working for the mayor of Crescent, a run-down station on the fringes of colonized space. Things start to go south very quickly, though, as he finds out that not only is the mayor up to his eyes in the shadiest of shady dealings–but that something is loose on Crescent, something that’s out for blood and lives.
The podcast version, or at least the initial stretch of it I listened to, was intriguing listening. Rossi reads well, and is good at varying accents to give you a sense of the voices of the different characters, something you don’t get as well when you’re just reading the ebook. There are also neat tricks done with certain sound effects that maximize the creepiness of a few key scenes, something else you don’t get in the ebook version.
Either way, I found myself poised between wanting more SF to this story and more horror at the same time, possibly because it had a foot in both genres and didn’t quite commit to either one, and possibly also because the horror tropes that the story invokes aren’t really the ones that work best for me. In particular, I found it had way too much reliance on acts of senseless violence–especially rape of random side characters, which happens twice–as a means of creating the horror.
When it avoids those tactics, which is thankfully the majority of the time, Crescent does achieve some genuine moments of creepiness and suspense. So, three stars.