Deadlock by Tim Curran

No Series

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.

A fun, fast and haunting horror ride. This boat may never set sail, but being on a boat at night floating on a chamber horrors is enough without adding in actual creepy sea life.

The plot is basic and straight-forward, and it reminds me a bit of the short story from King's movie Cat's Eye where an addicted gambler is forced out on the ledge to solve his issues and save his life. In this case, a gambler who owes a major debt is offered the chance to pay it off by staying alive on a large freighter.

Charlie doesn't trust the mobster in charge, but the chance to squeeze out of a fifty thousand dollar debt and keep his dignity intact makes the risk tempting - I'll let you read it for yourself to see if this gamble paid off.

The one has an almost hallucinogenic quality as Charlie lets him imagination run away with him, mixed in memories and unrealities. The villain Arturo is kind of funny and made memorable lines and moments considered he’s the big-bad of the shipyard.

The ending is a satisfying “so there!” moment. You get creepiness, a suitable end, a worthy premise, and a bizarre ship. Tim Curran is a talented writer who penned a worthy tale. It’s not maritime horror since the boat stays docked, but the claustrophobic setting rocks for this type of story.

It’s relatively short at 190 pages and can be had for a cheap price of 2.99 e-book --- recommended.

Cover Gallery