When lobster fishermen Jimmy and Murph Sweeney happen upon an abandoned fishing boat that was illegally dragging within state limits, it ignites the tension that has been smoldering between lobstermen and fishermen for years. As the Bay State Skye’s cargo is off-loaded, it sets a series of adverse events in motion for all who share the misfortune of coming into possession of its catch.
Based on actual events, this historical fiction gives an authentic glimpse into the inner circle of the Gloucester seafood industry in 1990 that hinges on interviews with fishermen, seafood processors, and restauranteurs. From the treachery of the sea, to the deception at the docks, to the struggle to convince the state to help tackle the mounting mound of fish offal piling up at the defunct waste-reduction plant, this tale reveals the challenges faced by those who make their living by going down to the sea.
Petrie’s family has been involved in the seafood business for two generations. Her interest in the industry was piqued after spending several years working in the trade herself, which led to her inclination to tell this story.
Plot: Inspired by true events, this well-researched intriguing novel exposes the occupational hazards embedded in the Gloucester, Mass., fish and seafood trade in 1990. Vivid, pungent, and layered in deceit, the story verges on a whistle-blowing, eye-opening look at a lucrative industry as opposed to a work of fiction.
Prose: Backed by countless interviews and the author’s firsthand knowledge and experience, the carefully-edited narrative reveals time and place through authentic descriptions and colloquialisms. The author's tendency to hyper-focus on minute details creates an experience to be savored, rather than quickly devoured.
Originality: Illegal acts on the ocean, a popular theme in fiction, may encompass any profession, yet this memorable book stands apart—an intricately-planned historical immersion in Cape Ann that will make an indelible impression on a jaded connoisseur of adventure novels.
Character Development: Candid protagonists in this character-saturated novel take the story in many directions, with shady personalities at the helm. Their development spins doubt and suspense and triggers double-takes.
Date Submitted: August 21, 2018
I have read books by this author previously and was interested to read this one. I love historical fiction. Beautifully written, this book takes you behind the scenes of Massachusetts' fishing industry. It gives you a view of the hard working men and women who choose to fish for a living. You get the feeling you can relate to these characters. It feels as if you know them. I did not realize how much political influence there is in the industry or ties to crime by some.
Great story about the Gloucester fishing industry and the people involved in it. With a little mystery included. Awesome book!
A great read of suspense and intregue involving the New England fisheries!!
. . . evidence of the quietly engrossing nature of this work; the mystery lures readers in, and the suspense throughout effectively holds their interest.
Reading a good book written by an experienced 'sea person' and successful author . . . is what I would call easy living. Bay State Skye provided the extra special ingredient for escaping the heat of the day and returning to 1990. I enjoyed the entire book, especially the gurry plant chapters, for I was directly involved in the controversy. Petrie's detailed reporting of the results of the shut down of the plant was extremely well done.