In this debut thriller, a woman has nowhere to run when she’s stuck on a yacht at sea with her rabid husband.
Following the death of her infant daughter, Dagny Steele grapples with depression for six months. Her husband, Brad Coolidge, believing they both need to get away, plans a monthlong yacht excursion. They leave their Massachusetts home for Bali, where they set sail. Brad, with more nautical experience, is the captain, and for a while, it’s smooth sailing. But then the couple start having trouble. Brad is sometimes frighteningly aggressive with Dagny, who also has reason to suspect he’s keeping secrets, like an affair. These problems only exacerbate adversities on the water, from monsoons and trailing sharks to the possibility of pirates. Worst of all, Brad has been sick from the start, and his condition is deteriorating. Dagny is certain it stems from a bat bite he received in Bali, but Brad stubbornly refuses treatment and doesn’t want to bring the yacht to port. When his ailment becomes a likely case of furious rabies, Brad is incoherent, violent, and potentially lethal. Dagny will have to fight him to make it safely ashore. Higgins’ story is fraught with tension. Even before Brad’s sickness worsens, there are nerve-wracking moments, like a ship that may be following the yacht. All of readers’ sympathies will go to Dagny, who has a fear of water due to a family tragedy. In contrast, Brad is condescending as well as spiteful when Dagny denies him sex. He’s also utterly terrifying when showing rabies symptoms. The author writes concise, white-knuckle scenes as Dagny wisely hides from her husband: “Brad stood in the berth doorway, his fists balled, and his hair matted with sweat. He stared into the empty cabin and cocked his head, as if he sensed me nearby.” The story culminates in an unforgettable final act.
A taut and suspenseful tale on the ocean.(dedication, acknowledgements)