Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Black by Paul E. Cooley


A drilling team has just struck an oil deposit with the purest oil anyone has ever uncovered. The crew cannot believe the fortune that this strike will bring with minimal refining. But there's something not right about this oil. It bubbles without reason. It eats through cloth and worse, flesh.

And it seems to be after every last one of them.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

Under 30,000 feet of water, the exploration rig Leaguer has discovered an oil field larger than Saudi Arabia, with oil so sweet and pure, nations would go to war for the rights to it. But as the team starts drilling exploration well after exploration well in their race to claim the sweet crude, a deep rumbling beneath the ocean floor shakes them all to their core. Something has been living in the oil and it’s about to give birth to the greatest threat humanity has ever seen.


The Black is modern, present-day thrilling horror in the best way. I don't recall hearing a specific date or year at any point during the book (I listened to the author's podcast recording of the novel), but I didn't need a specific year. It's clearly set here and now, and I could easily imagine the events of this novel occurring at this very moment. Yeah, right now. Right as you're reading this. Like, now.

There are parts of the narrative that rely on modern technology... I guess it's good that it's set in the now.


I adore Cooley's writing style. He's clear and concise, and even if I weren't listening to a recording, this is the sort of story I would want told to me. This would be a great book to read to others, with lights dimmed or around a campfire on a multi-night camping trip. This is what gives me chills, and it's ideal to have it told to you or to tell to someone else.

My Thoughts

It's clear from the get-go that Cooley did his research in making this book happen. I have to applaud him on the depth of what he learned to make this book accurate and plausible. Even so, with all the technical crap going on, I wasn't lost, nor did I feel talked down to. Things that needed to be explained were, but not in a way that detracted from the narrative. The characters were human and believable, though a number of them did sort of run together for me, but they were mainly secondary characters anyway. The main figures were clear-cut in who they were and how they spoke, thought, and acted.

The plot was excellent. I was intrigued from the onset and couldn't wait to see how things panned out. I got chills more than once, and even more often than that, I was mind-boggled at how insane Cooley's mind must be. The whole situation, the precarious positions he puts his characters in... they're awesome and awful. But things never got overly graphic. He lets your imagination do a lot of the grunt work, and that made the whole experience better for me. Now if this were a miniseries or movie, oh the gore and graphic disgustingness we would see.

I do have to say, though, if they did The Black in smell-o-vision, you'd be smelling a lot of bacon.

Would I Recommend This Book? Definitely! The Black is not a jump-scare-filled, out to make you squirm kind of thriller. This is a mindtrick, sort of, a nail-biter that will leave you wanting more and wondering how the heck your guys are going to get out of it. It's well-written and intriguing from the beginning to the end. i give The Black a corrosive 5 of 5 stars.

For more information on the author, visit

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