Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two hundred year old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.
The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.
Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.
I’ve been following this series to date and I was hoping for a really interesting paranormal story based on the blurb, or at least a good ghost story to chase away the chill on a stormy night, but this one fell short. Other readers may love it, but it just wasn’t my cuppa. I found the romance to be lukewarm at best, and in fact, at times I wasn’t even sure it was a romance. Just a little light sex between two older blokes who put their books down long enough to hop in bed together. What they do there remains a mystery since the sex wasn’t explicit. Normally, I don’t care about that, but I just felt that there was no excitement to either character, individually or as a couple, so I was hoping for a spark to be revealed in the bedroom.
Morgan Capell has been having vivid nightmares since his childhood about the Troilus, a ship that wrecked offshore from his quaint family home many generations ago. Some of the timbers from the original ship are support beams in his house and stories of the wreck have been handed down for generations, but he doesn’t understand why his dreams are so vivid. And now, after breaking up with his long-time boyfriend, the dreams are back in force. Add to that, his worries over his mother who has developed early onset dementia and the troubling issues are too much for him some days.
When he’s contacted by a man interested in learning more about the wreck and in seeing the timbers for himself, he’s not sure he should get involved, but eventually he decides it will be okay. Dominic has an interest in more than the beams though. He’s convinced one of the midshipmen escaped the wreck and washed ashore, only to be killed later by a scorned lover. Morgan agrees to help him investigate and the two develop a romance after a while—though neither admits it’s a real romance, and at times, it seemed as if it wasn’t. But they persevere in their investigations of the lost sailor and eventually the mystery is solved.
As I said earlier, this one is fairly mild and the mystery is not such a mystery after all. The romance turns out to be one of those slow-burn, you-fit-me-like-an-old-shoe sort of relationship, but the story is pretty long and by that point I really didn’t much care. This is not one I would recommend. It certainly can be read as a standalone as others in the series can be, so skipping this one won’t spoil the series since the only thing the stories have in common is the location.