Intruder, by Dan Foley and published by Necon E-Books, is a novella that has a premise you just don’t see all that much of in horror fiction. Intruder is set inside a haunted submarine.
From the start of this novella it becomes apparent that the author has a more than casual knowledge when it comes to these nuclear-death delivering vessels. The author’s firsthand knowledge goes a long way in making Intruder the entertaining and suspenseful read it turned out to be.
Intruder begins in WW2 with the sinking of a German submarine by American destroyers. We are introduced to Gerhard Kuehn, one of the ship’s hands who listens to the pings of the American ships depth charges as they approach his submarine. When the depth charges hit their target, we see that Kuehn is bravely trying to save the submarine right up to its inevitable implosion. Then, after all hands are lost, we are told that even in death Kuehn refuses to give up the battle.
Readers are then brought into the present where we find ourselves aboard the U.S.S. John Hancock, following along with one of the ships newest hands, Josh Hastings. We read along as Hastings and his other shipmates learn to work the vessel and live among each other. We are privy to the pranks they pull, the nicknames they bestow on each other, their bathroom exploits, sleeping accommodations, their superstitions, and how the officers treat the rank and file. It is once the author lulls us with a familiarity of the ship and we find ourselves comfortable with the antics and work routines of the men, well, that’s when the shit hits the fan.
Sailors begin to see a glowing figure materializing in front of them or passing through walls. Some have seizures and then become comatose. And some sailors are dying. The ship’s captain and officers are trying to calm the men, claiming that their superstitions are working them up into lather and that there is no supernatural reason for all their bad luck.
It’s up to those sailors who do believe a ghost is among them to battle the entity and save all their lives. The thing is, how do you kill something that is already dead?
As mentioned, the author does a yeoman’s job of enabling the reader to feel what it’s like to be inside of a submarine, making Intruder a claustrophobic nightmare of a read. The novella also contains a unique plot device featuring the ghost’s point of view and how it attacks its victims, adding additional depth to the tale. Intruder is Foley’s best effort yet.
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