Sacculina Philip Fracassi, 2017.
An innocent fishing trip turns deadly – and gross – in this lean, whip-fast novella.
Mild Jim and his newly-ex-felon older brother Jack, together with their sad father Henry and Jack’s hulking friend Chris, charter a boat for a combination of male family re-bonding and get-out-of-prison celebration.
There are valid concerns about the seaworthiness of the tiny boat and its decrepit captain, but the symbolism of the trip and is message of reunification override caution, and Captain Ron takes the group on a nauseating trip out to deep water.
Soon, they’ve run through the beer. There are no fish.
But there’s something else. Something very bad. I won’t tell you, but the title will, if you do a little research
The trip rapidly goes to hell as the men fend off disgusting creatures invading their boat…and their bodies.
Sacculina is a lightning, one-sitting read simply because once you begin, the breakneck pace, spare writing and swiftly escalating horror suck you in. Fracassi’s characters are quick-drawn but vital. A sense of familial connection, of childhood tensions past and present, inform their actions and personalities. Sacculina is like reading a great episode of a disturbing television show. A wetly gruesome television show. I would have loved even more – a two-hour version, maybe – but the story is tight and complete as is. Great read.