Death at the Seaside is a sinister story of the shocking consequences when a man’s destructive past and tormented mind, finally shatter. The story and plot are interesting and well-structured, accepting it is a novella. It was also intriguing to find the main characters dislikeable, yet appealing, if only to see them get their comeuppance.
Larry Castle is a big man, an ex-soldier that at one time people would have described as handsome but is now podgy. His attitude and ego continue to define how he presents himself to the world. Underneath he’s cold with a sadistic streak that manifests itself particularly during sex where he gets off on attempted strangulation.
Larry has booked a chalet in an English seaside resort where he plans to meet his lover and actress Elizabeth (Betty) Franklin. While waiting for her arrival he meets Mr and Mrs Montgomery with their young son in the dining room of the complex. Following a conversation with the family where Larry has had an opportunity to play-out his self-elevated persona as an investor, the young boy engages him with:
“ ‘This isn’t over, Castle,’ the boy said, his voice suddenly much deeper. ‘I’ll tear you down brick by brick.’ ”
At which Castle responds forcibly cursing and man-handling the boy. The reason for the reaction is that those exact words were spoken to him by his one-time friend, Lestrade that he cheated and left him for dead. Has Lestrade come back seeking retribution and what is the connection with the Montgomery family?
Larry will be given an opportunity to walk away from the inevitable doom unfolding but his stubborn choices and mindless cruel actions will spiral out of control and damage anyone in range. The characterisations in the story explore dark, narcissistic and remorseless personalities, which strangely captivate as their reactions and beliefs are chaotic. The descriptive narrative was a little over-elaborate and jarred at times, especially with elements that didn’t really matter.
I would like to thank F.R. Jameson for a copy of his book in return for an honest review.