Close Reach: A Novel

Close Reach: A Novel

by Jonathan Moore

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In a riveting tale of suspense and terror on the high seas, Bram Stoker Award nominee Jonathan Moore pits human beings against nature—and something far deadlier: one another.
Kelly Pratihari-Reid and her husband sail their yacht into Antarctic waters, thinking their gravest concerns will be ice and storms—and their cracked marriage. A British girl shrieking across a short-range VHF frequency ends that illusion. It’s coming, she screams. It saw us and it’s coming back! Her voice is drowned by a tide of signal-jamming static, and Kelly sees a target on the radar screen: A ship is coming for them.
Thus begins an unforgettable cat-and-mouse game across stormy polar seas and dire landfalls. Kelly’s pursuers will test her to the limits of her endurance—and beyond. For the ship in her wake is crewed by pirates, with a young leader trained to use the most sadistic tortures in pursuit of his ultimate objective . . . a goal as shocking as it is horrific.

Praise for Close Reach
“This is the kind of horror that will make your heart race.”
“Mind-blowing . . . I started reading it and didn’t stop till I finished.”—Cabin Goddess
“A visceral edge-of-the-seat roller coaster ride.”—The Novel Pursuit
“A book that will appeal to sailing enthusiasts, horror enthusiasts or both!”—To Read or Not to Read Is Not a Question
“Pure adrenaline . . . definitely recommended for fans of dark thrillers.”—Pamelibrarian

“Set on the icy polar seas, bristling with suspense, Jonathan Moore’s Close Reach is as horrifying and claustrophobic as any haunted house story. The plot pitches and yaws with twist after twist, and by midpoint the reader is a goner. Leave the lights on, lock the doors, feed the cats, this is an irresistible page-turner of the first order. Highly recommended!”—Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Walking Dead: Fall of the Governor, Part Two and author of The Sinking of the Eastland

“Readers will need their sea legs for this hugely enjoyable, roller-coaster voyage of a novel. Close Reach is a brutal tale of redemption and revenge with a heroine to root for at every shocking twist and turn. Jonathan Moore’s writing is as rich as it is raw and thrilling—and storms along at a breakneck pace that will leave you gasping for air.”—Frazer Lee, Bram Stoker Award–nominated author of The Lamplighters, Panic Button, and The Jack in the Green

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390940
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 658,658
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Jonathan Moore lives in Hawaii, with his wife, Maria. When he’s not writing, or fixing his boat, Jonathan is an attorney at a Honolulu firm. Before completing law school in New Orleans, he was an English teacher, a white-water raft guide on the Rio Grande, a counselor at a Texas wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. His first novel, Redheads, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

Read an Excerpt


The timer above the narrow pilot berth started buzzing at 2:50 a.m., but Kelly had been awake at least an hour, thinking about the last radio call. The signal had come the morning before, while they were still anchored off the Antarctic Peninsula’s Adelaide Island. She’d been making breakfast before they weighed anchor, when the voice of a young British woman came blasting out of the ether and into the bulkhead-mounted VHF.

It’s coming, this girl had screamed. It saw us and it’s coming back! Oh, God, Jim, hurry, please hurry!

And then her voice cut off.

What replaced her was more terrifying than her words. At first it was like someone had touched an arcing high-voltage wire to the British girl’s transmitter. But that sharp crackle had faded in a few seconds and was replaced by music. Not any kind of music Kelly listened to, but she thought she knew what it was called. Death metal. Or maybe black metal. Heavily distorted, pounding guitars. A singer screaming guttural lyrics that might not have been words at all. The music had gone on and on, with Kelly frozen in front of the stove, waiting for the girl’s voice to come back. Dean was on deck rigging the sails but ducked his head into the companionway. He’d heard everything on the VHF repeater in the cockpit.

“What’s going on?”

The VHF was set to monitor emergency channel 16. Kelly had put down the spatula, wiping her hands dry on the front of her polar fleece sweater as she stepped to the navigation station. She switched the VHF to channel 9, the backup emergency channel, but the music was there, too. Then she’d tried scanning all the channels up to 86.
The deafening music was on every VHF channel.

She looked at Dean, and he pointed silently at the single-sideband radio. She powered up the long-range SSB and ran through the frequencies from 2 megahertz to 26 megahertz. It was the same there. The terrible music was distorted on the extremely long-range frequencies at the high end of the SSB spectrum, but it was there.

“That’s impossible,” she said.

“Turn it off,” Dean said. “And get the engine started.”

He shut the hatch doors, and she heard his footfalls overhead as he went to the bow. In a moment she heard the electric whine of the windlass and the steady clink of anchor chain feeding into the forward locker.

* * *

They’d checked the radio thirty minutes later as they were motoring out of the lee of the island. The music had given way to a full spectrum of static and silence on the short-range VHF. On the SSB they picked up the usual chatter of faraway yachts. They listened to cruisers discussing the weather in the Marquesas and Galápagos, another pair of yachts arranging a rendezvous at coordinates that might have been the Minerva Reefs, off New Zealand. There was no interference and no music. This far south, there was no help to call on the SSB. Dean tried calling out on the short-range VHF, hoping to hail a nearby ship or the girl who’d cried out earlier.
But the only reply was silence and then static when Kelly turned down the radio’s squelch.

They looked at each other and at the glowing face of the radio panel, and Kelly knew there was nothing else they could do.

* * *

They set the storm staysail and tied a third reef into the mainsail before they broke out of the shelter of the island and into the open wind. Then they pointed the bow north, into the Drake Passage.

North, toward home.

* * *

Kelly hadn’t thought much of home in thirty-nine months of sailing, but now she wanted to be there badly. She lay in her bunk, listening to the buzzing alarm and wanting nothing more than to be back in Mystic under the covers of their bed in their house overlooking the harbor. To have this passage, and the eight thousand miles after it, finished. To have the S/V Freefall tied to her own dock, the miles a memory under her keel instead of a threat.

She thought of the young woman’s voice again, the terrible music that had drowned her.

It’s coming, she’d cried before the electronic tide carried her away.

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