The Memory of Mermaids by Spencer Dryden
Fireborn Publishing 2015
Max Weiss is having a bad year. His mom has died, his girlfriend just dumped him, he’s lost his job because he looked too hard at some dodgy contracts, and he’s being kicked out of his snazzy condo by his gangster landlord. His life looks as bleak as his recession-battered Florida town. However, his luck changes dramatically when he rescues a gorgeous woman from the lascivious tentacles of a sea monster. Max thinks he’s dreaming—or maybe suffering from the after-effects of drowning his sorrows in beer—when the curvy brunette reveals that she’s actually a mermaid. She deposits the Kraken’s treasure on Max’s dock, solving his financial problems in one fell swoop. Her tail doesn’t prevent her from expressing her gratitude to her human hero in other ways as well. By the time Azzaria asks Max to help her find her sister Bekkaul, who has shed her tail to follow her human lover and lost all memory of the sea, Max is hooked. He’ll do whatever it takes to make his beloved mermaid happy, even risking his life in his search.
The Memory of Mermaids is a delightful romantic fantasy, full of wacky characters and local color. I’ve never visited the area where the book is set, but the author really brings it to life. I always appreciate a story that transports me to a distinctive locale. In the case of Mermaids, I could almost smell the tide, feel the ocean breezes, and taste the rum that Azzaria likes so much.
I loved Mr. Dryden’s creation myth which explains the mutual attraction between men and mermaids. Hey, his story is at least as plausible as Genesis! And like Azzaria, female readers will adore Max. He’s is the sort of insecure, self-effacing, but surprisingly competent hero who often features in this author’s work. He doesn’t take anything for granted—certainly not the willingness of the randy sea creature with whom he has become entwined—and he’s always respectful of the female of the species—any species!
This novella packs a lot of plot and a myriad of characters into 130 pages. I particularly enjoyed Miss Jean, the “dolphin whisperer”, a wise old woman who knows the truth about mermaids and convinces Max he’s not going crazy.
Compared to the other work I’ve read by this author, The Memory of Mermaids is light on erotic content. That’s fine, though. It fits the tone of the story. And if you read closely, you’ll find just a hint of nasty tentacle porn, which makes the tale juicier.
My only real complaint about The Memory of Mermaids is that it could have used more suspense. The moment Azzaria’s long lost sister appears on the page, it’s obvious who she is. A bit more mystery would have made this tale even more enjoyable than it already was.
This is a minor quibble, though. Overall, The Memory of Mermaids is an entertaining read with some original twists that will leave you smiling.