This book was provided to me by DarkFuse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Deadlock by Tim Curran
Charlie Petty is a man known for having ice water in this veins. He never backs down and is never shaken but unfortunately stirred up into the wrong crowd. As a degenerate gambler, his luck has run out and his debt has now come due.
Charlie is offered a chance to clear his tab: simply stay alone on a ship overnight to prove to its owner and potential crew that it’s not cursed nor haunted. Never mind the ship’s history of suicide, violence, mutiny and murder. Or how the ship’s past crews have gone missing or insane. The fact that no one has set foot on deck in darkness for years doesn’t phase Charlie one bit. It sounds like easy money to bust up a superstition or two.
Charlie thinks his luck is returning. Little does he know it’s about to run out completely. (via Goodreads)
I’d been meaning to sample more of DarkFuse’s offerings and horror-at-sea is a subgenre that I think should get more attention. Deadlock is actually horror-docked, but it’s still a nice twist on a haunted house story.
Charlie Petty is presented with the ubiquitous deal: stay one whole night on the ship, get your $50K debt forgiven. Petty even jokes to himself that he thinks he saw a Vincent Price movie like that once. And similarly to The House on Haunted Hill, the deal-maker’s philandering wife is involved as well, though given a much more peripheral role. That’s where the similarities to the William Castle picture end. Deadlock serves up a visceral haunting that drives poor Charlie a little mad and then consumes him whole.
Curran does gross-out pretty well, but some of the story’s repetition, that was probably meant to be tension building, misses the mark. Much is made of Charlie’s tough guy reputation, but honestly, I didn’t buy it. The reader isn’t given much evidence of it outside of Charlie and Arturo saying it’s so. The story has a pretty long wind-up, so it might have been good to see Charlie deal with something real before facing him off against the supernatural. The horrors of this story rely on the eldritch fear men seem to have in regards to the female body, an interesting change-up to a woman-in-peril story. It’s a decent read for a spare hour.
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Why did I choose to read this book? horror-at-sea from DarkFuse