The Call of the Sea

Rated 4.71/5 based on 7 reviews
Why do tears taste of the sea?
John Heap’s debut short story begins as Peter meets Maria on a deserted shore of a British seaside town. Peter is fascinated with Maria, but Maria is fascinated with the sea, a dark elemental obsession that echoes back to her family and to the origins of life itself. Can Peter save Maria from herself and the planetary forces that seem bent on her destruction?
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About John Heap

John Heap was born in Rochdale, England.
Moved to Liverpool for degree in Zoology, and discovered climbing.
Met girl, stopped climbing. Learnt programming and wrote computer games.
Lost girl, lost fitness, wasted decades worrying about things that didn’t matter.
Dot com bubble burst, lost lots of money but gained lots of time.
Took a break, stopped smoking and began to learn to write.
Started climbing again, regained fitness, found a girl, moved to Shropshire, got married.
Still learning to write.


Review by: S. Michael Choi on Dec. 4, 2012 :
literary fiction is the hardest to write (check out the 1000s of LGBT fanfics and 1000s of scifi books here on Smashwords and single-digits of lit fic). 4****s for some evocative descriptions of seaside England, nice riff on Russian girl alone in West.

like much debut works, needs some paring down to take it to the "new Yorker" magazine level, but otherwise a solid 4/5 work worth a read
(review of free book)
Review by: Brad Skett on Nov. 18, 2012 :
I really enjoyed this - a boy-meets-girl tale with a welcome difference, clearly written and engaging throughout.

The characters are well formed and the story, along with the mystery of Maria's history, unfolds at a perfect pace, free of predictability and the usual lazy clichés.

It's obvious that the author has personal experience of the locations he describes and has an understanding of the sea's enigmatic nature, the rhythm and cycle of the tides, all proving pivotal and essential to the story.

This is a very strong and enjoyable debut piece and I will certainly look forward to the author's future work.
(review of free book)
Review by: Maggie Furmanek on Nov. 15, 2012 :
I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself racing to the end as the suspense grew - loved the twist at the end. The characters have depth and the story is well written. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
(review of free book)
Review by: R.J. Turner on Nov. 15, 2012 :
Ron Turner
Set mainly in a strange hinterland between the sea of myth and the reality of dry land this story decribes a relationship between a young Englishman and a beautiful Russian girl with a mysterious past and an alarming obsession. There is suspense and ambiguity on every page with an ironic twist at the end.
A must-read story that leaves a tang of salt on the tongue.
(review of free book)
Review by: Sara Heap on Nov. 12, 2012 :
First things first - I am John's other half. Determined not to be biased as I am his better half and I write quite a lot, it turns out that he can write and I hasten to add he's a lot better at it than I am!
So that said here's a short story gripping to the end. The story is imaginatively told and the characters are well developed. It's easy to imagine watching the characters pass you in the street or in this case splash around on the beach.
This is a first short story and I think that the opening paragraphs are a little over worked, however it soon begins to flow and is a real pleasure to read.
(review of free book)
Review by: M Evans on Nov. 9, 2012 :
Anyone who has ever been to Southport and the installation "Another place"at Crosby will find it easy to identify with the pathos running through the story. Parallels between the Baltic and the Southport shore are easily seen. The storyline itself is convoluted enough to keep your interest and the characters have enough depth to allow the reader to put flesh on their bones.
Location wise it helps that I know the places so I could put imagery around the scenes easily. If the reader where unfamiliar with the places it might loose some of its atmosphere.
Good story line almost along the lines of a short film script in the pace and changing of the locations. Change the locations to Calais and Dunkirk and it would be a simple transition to a black and white french art-house movie.
(review of free book)
Review by: JON PRICE on Nov. 8, 2012 :
If you feel the call of the sea yourself, you'll enjoy this engaging story of a romance set on the misty shores of the Irish sea in the Merseyside towns of Southport and Crosby. A surprising end to story, reminds me of myself struggling to get to shore when my windsurfing kit broke not too far away across in the Dee estuary, not a pleasant experience in those murky waters and currents. Gormley's famous statues at Crosby beach also feature in the story, but they are a hazard to shipping! An interesting read
(review of free book)
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