Book: The Wooden Sea

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The Wooden Sea

Author: Jonathan Carroll
Publisher: Tor Books

Set in the fictional town of Crane’s View, New York, the familiar setting of earlier Carroll novels, The Wooden Sea also brings back the character of Police Chief Frannie McCabe. Crane’s View is a small, comfortable town nestled along the river, a place where nothing out of the ordinary would happen—and doesn’t, to the casual observer. But when a three-legged dog named Old Vertue wanders into McCabe’s office and dies, he knows that something odd is beginning, and that his life will be forever altered.

As with all Carroll novels, The Wooden Sea is filled with memorable characters who are so familiar that you can’t help but be drawn into their world, a world that is always just a little off from the norm. Fans of his work will be delighted by the small details and recurring themes throughout the story, while newcomers will have the chance to discover all these little eccentricities for the first time. The Wooden Sea should not be missed.


Frannie McCabe was an obnoxious juvenile delinquent in his teens, but has settled down into comfortable middle age in the small town of Crane’s View as its chief of police; like other Jonathan Carroll protagonists, the hero of The Wooden Sea is about to find himself caught up in uncanny goings-on. First a dog walks into his office and drops dead—more importantly, it will not stay buried. Then a quarreling couple simply disappears, and then Frannie finds himself haunted by his younger, more abrasive self, and by visions of the last day of his life, as an old man about to be knocked down by a motorbike in Vienna.

What all this means and what lessons Frannie is supposed to take from it all are where the questions lie; anyone who has read an earlier Carroll novel will know the sorts of thing that are liable to happen, the sorts of thing that they are likely to mean—but any reader of an earlier Carroll novel will almost certainly be buying any of his books they can get hold of, anyway. This is an inventive and moving fantasy by a writer who more or less defined dark fantasy as a critical term. —Roz Kaveney,

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