The Fishing Widow
by Amy K. Marshall
Today, I'm introducing you to Amy Marshall's debut novel, The Fishing Widow. You can read my interview with Amy below.
There's an old saying that goes: The difference between a fairy tale and a fisherman’s tale is this… a fairy tale begins, "Once Upon A Time" and a fisherman’s tale begins, "This Ain’t No Bullshit."
Supernatural terror stalks the crew of the purse seiner the F/V The Case In Point during the March 2010 Sitka Herring Sac Roe Fishery in Southeast Alaska. As the herring war intensifies, each boat is an island, and being alone can cost you everything. As the web spins from the depths, the past is not so distant; the lines between history and myth begin to blur. The forgotten horror surrounding the 1835 loss of the Nantucket whaler The Covenant threatens to overwhelm the present. One among the seven men aboard The Case In Point is unwittingly marked by a woman beautiful and cursed, who not only desperately needs his help, but needs, desperately, to tear out his heart and consume his crew.
Colin lurched, his hand tightening against the smooth metal wheel as a roller crashed against Revelation, sending white capped water raging over the wheelhouse. He steadied his feet, his hand scrabbling madly for the radio’s transmitter. The boat’s superstructure groaned. The roller drove him, hard, up against Fairweather again.
“Matt!” Colin’s voice was hoarse with desperation. “Matt! Get those lines cut!” Through the wildly scattered sheen of the sodium mast lights, Colin could see two of his shipmates struggle to their feet, dragging fire-axes up with them, and resume hacking wildly at the lines that held the two boats fast. Revelation shuddered as the following trough removed the sea beneath her. Colin watched the rain-slicked orange figures reel as Fairweather slid down after her. One line parted suddenly, snapping away as the two boats continued to pitch.
“One!” Matt yelled.
“C’m on, boys,” Colin pleaded in a whisper as two axes began tearing fiercely into the second line. Colin started, spinning around as the bulkhead door behind him banged open. Ethan flung himself into the wheelhouse. He made a mad grab for Colin.
“Get out!” Ethan’s hands closed on Colin, pulling him from the wheel. Colin stumbled away, falling against the starboard bulkhead as the boat pitched.
“Ethan!” Colin yelled.
Ethan turned, his blue eyes shining insanely in the shifting light. He stumbled aft, grabbing at the fire axe.
“Oh, shit, no,” Colin breathed his eyes wide. Colin let out a yell as he flung himself aft. His hands closed on Ethan and he hauled him forward, slamming him down against the con. Ethan struggled, punching at Colin. Ethan’s fist connected and Colin fell back, his hand fumbling for the wheel. Ethan howled, kicking at Colin before tumbling to the deck. Ethan staggered to his feet and turned.
They suddenly reeled to starboard as the second line parted and Revelation rocked free of Fairweather. Ethan’s fingers found the radio mic as he slid, his other hand grasping wildly for the wheel.
“Matt!” Ethan wailed frantically.
“Ethan!” Colin lunged for Ethan. The boat jerked and shuddered, sliding sideways through the worsening swell. Ethan and Colin fell, grappling, against the port bulkhead.
“Let me go!” Ethan screamed. He flailed helplessly.
Colin turned wildly as the bulkhead door banged, thrown open and shut in the wind. The gale swirled through the wheelhouse—spinning charts and papers from their places beneath the con.
“No! Let me go!” Ethan sobbed. Colin ignored him; he lunged for the door, wrenching it shut before he staggered to the wheel. Ethan howled.
“Ethan--” Colin’s hands struggled at the wheel to steady her. He watched Ethan writhe against the deck, howling, his fingers clawing madly at his survival suit. Colin shook his head in disbelief. His hand trembled as he picked up the transmitter, his eyes never leaving Ethan. “Oh, God, Matt,” he breathed, his voice echoing in his ears. “Call Ketch.”
By Lynda Dickson
The Fishing Widow is set in Alaska, and follows the story of fishermen Ethan and Colin, and the women in their lives, Nan and Ellie. It begins with a chilling encounter aboard the Revelation four years earlier, introducing us to the main characters and a mystery which will continue to haunt Ethan.
We jump forward to the 2010 opening of the Sitka Herring Fishery aboard Colin's new boat The Case in Point. What follows is a life and death race to bring an end to an ancient curse and to solve the mystery of what happened aboard the Revelation four years earlier. A word or warning: there are a lot of names in this book, including the crew members and a number of boats. Be sure you pay attention to all of them, past and present, as they are all relevant to the story.
This book is a fine mix of romance, historical fiction, thriller, suspense, and horror, and it is even part boating and fishing manual. At times there is too much detail but, while this may detract from the story itself, it does have the effect of transporting the reader into the book's world. We can hear the rain pelting down on our hooded slicker and feel the deck swaying beneath our feet.
All in all, this was a good read with elements to please all types of readers.
About the Author
Amy K. Marshall has been an archaeologist, curator, archivist, conservator, diver, sled dog race project manager and logistics chief, line chef, waitress, forklift operator, newspaper delivery girl, musical theater director, actress, small business owner, musician, and shovel bum (not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily exclusively at one time or another).
Amy holds a B.A. in Medieval Archaeology (this explains the odd jobs) and an M.A. in Maritime History & Nautical Archaeology (this explains the whole boat fascination thing). She is currently the Library Director for the small fishing town of Craig, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island, and would like to go on record that she was NOT her small fishing town's librarian at the time of writing this particular story. She resides in Craig with her husband, two teenagers (this goes far in explaining the whole horror writer thing), dark-fairy-hunting cat, and psychotic Border collie; all of whom she loves beyond all measure.
The Fishing Widow is Amy's first novel. She is currently working on a number of other projects.
Not half-bad for the girl who was born and abandoned in the Grover Bungalow Laundry Mat in Lawrence, Kansas in November of 1964 (you can read more about this by following the link below).
Other Interesting Links
Amy in the News
Hauling Gear - Commercial fishery blog
JuneaTek - Commercial fishery blog
Sitka Herring Fishery - a great short video introduction to the event