The Port Fee by Garrett Dennis
The Port Fee by Garrett Dennis begins in a vein immediately reminiscent of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. In fact, the opening lines echo one another nearly exactly. At once, this kind of homage signals to the reader that he or she is in for an adventure of epic proportions. But we aren’t in the Gulf Stream. We’re in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the diction of the piece makes it incredibly clear that our narrator has that sort of comfortable Southern drawl that every fantastic storyteller adopts when spinning a tall tale. Jovial small talk and some playful chiding give way to a darker conversation—and the beginning of the wild ride that this narrative takes from here on out. Two bloated bodies, seemingly divers who have “gotten themselves into some kinda trouble,” bob with the tide and alarm Ketch (Storm Ketchum, our hero), his children: Henry, Sally, Bean, and his wife, Suzanne. Mysterious coins found nearby spark young Henry’s imagination. Perhaps there’s something to his theory that this area of the Outer Banks serves as some sort of portal to another realm. Spirits, sea hags, ghosts, and ghouls: all manner of wildly fantastical monsters and critters dance across the stage of this narrative.
Explore this novel for yourself and prepare to be enthralled by its outrageous twists and turns and subtle endorsement of preservation. While it’s primarily a fantasy, The Port Fee has some very real underpinnings. Be sure to check out the previous two novels in this adventurous series that details the trials and tribulations of Storm Ketchum!
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