‘The Weight of the Ocean’ is a bittersweet tale of love and loss with a mystical element running through its blood. The story concerns a man who has a close relationship with the mysterious ‘Jess’, an elusive, ethereal figure who flits in and out of the man’s life and enchants him until she is all he can think about.
Synopsis: The eight man crewed schooner, the Albin Grau is on a return voyage to England, when they spot another ship far behind. This ship appears to have no sails, yet not only does it seem to catch up with the Albin Grau, it sometimes seems to change course.
A decision is made to board the ship and when it's determined there is no crew, it is tethered by rope to be taken in as salvage. This course of action will have dire consequences, for the other ship isn't quite as uninhabited as it would seem. And when darkness falls...
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to this one ever since devouring the superlative ‘Chasing Shadows Everywhere’ earlier in the year. Since then, LT Vargus has become LT Vargus and Tim McBain (I guess technically they always were, but whatever), and after a naturalistic standalone novel, this time we’re given the first part of a projected five novel series (!!), ‘Fade To Black’, a dark tale of magical realism.
The authors have lost none of their touch with regards to voice: in the marvellously named Jeff Grobnagger we have a protagonist that is both richly layered and immediately familiar. The first person present narrative puts the reader right into the action from the get-go, and as the novel develops and we discover the many layers to Jeff’s personality our affection for him grows. He’s a relatable person to whom extraordinary things are happening, and the writers do an outstanding job in establishing and developing his character as the plot unfolds. His friend Glenn Floyd is similarly well drawn and enjoyable.
Disclaimer: I was asked and provided a cover quote for Rich's début published novel. I had not read the book itself, but I had read quite a bit of Rich's other fiction and was vocal online about how good I thought it was, which led to said asking. I am also good friends with Rich. I offer this as full disclosure in case there are any accusations of 'providing a good review for a friend' or some-such. I endeavour to review everything with as much objectivity as I can and this novel will be no exception. I see no profit or mileage in giving a glowing review if that isn't sincerely the case. Peace out.
There comes a time in a writer’s career, where everything they have written before gels and coalesces into the novel that they were meant to write. It can be a frightening time for a writer when this happens, what if this is the pinnacle of their career? What if everything else they write after this book doesn’t match up? It must be a troubling time for a writer.
Adam Nevill’s No One Gets Out Alive is one such book, but if I was him I wouldn’t be too concerned about reaching a pinnacle, as I have been saying this about his writing ever since Apartment 16. His novels just get better and better. He is a master craftsman of the horror genre. Fully aware of what has come before him, he plucks tropes and themes form the genre with perfect precision then proceeds to spin a captivating tale that really does stay with you long after you have finished it.