Delving into the dark side of the fragile human psyche, Mutley's Crew begins with a deep sea fishing excursion that is destined to go bad. Skipper Burt Cox and his first mate, Henry Leigh, welcome aboard the forty-four foot yacht, 'Hell’s Kitchen', six passengers; each harbors a mysterious secret or unfounded fear. One by one the truth behind the façades emerges to bring about the decay of the group. When the boat becomes disabled in open-ocean off the coast of Florida, they drift helplessly and run aground on a deserted island near Binini in the Bahamas. Alone and fending for themselves, the pleasant holiday atmosphere on a beach slowly works its way to murder and mayhem. The island becomes a playground for felonious crimes while death begins to stalk the group. Though the trip was meant to be one of relaxation and discovery, for the survivors it will be an experience that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Please note: This novel is written in the third person omniscient point of view which editors and reviewers 'not so kindly' refer to as 'head-hopping'. This was done deliberately so the reader can 'hop inside' each characters head at any given moment.
The heat and the rocking motion having gotten to Vic, he was almost asleep when the sound of the reel woke him. At the whizzing whistle, everyone perked up to look.
"Oh boy!" Andrew laughed, "Here we go."
Thinking it sounded like a big one, Burt rushed to Vic's side to help him out. "You got one. You have definitely got one." Burt tightened the buckles on Vic's fighting harness quickly.
Donna had just finishing putting sun block on her exposed skin. She peered over the side rail to where the line dipped into the water. "Amazing that thin line can hold a big fish."
"It better." Burt laughed uneasily. "Christ, it's a monster." He helped Vic pull up the rod and reel it in. "Henry."
"Aye, Skip." Henry had been reclining on the bridge trying to nap, suddenly springing into action at his master's call.
"Get the net."
Seeing his own line was flaccid and obviously not tempting anything, Andrew stood up and set his rod in the steal holder, then hurried toward Henry on the pretext of helping him out.
Henry moved to the bow, leaning over the side to watch for any sign of the fish.
Feigning interest in the same, Andrew stood next to Henry, leaning on him as if trying to get a good view.
When something huge leaped out of the water, they all gasped in surprise.
"It's a blue tip," Burt said in disappointment.
"A what?" Donna couldn't tell what it was it went in and out of the water so fast.
"A shark," Burt explained.
"A shark." Sandra shivered. "There are sharks down there?" Wrapping her arms around herself, she backed from the edge warily. "Oh, right. Swim to cool off, he says."
Ignoring her idiotic comments, Burt looked over at Henry. "The minute we get her up, cut the line as close to the hook as you can. Stay clear of its mouth, though. Can you do that?"
"Wait." Andrew asked, "Can't we at least pull it up and get a photo of it? It may be the only catch all day."
"You don't want to be dealing with a shark, Andy. And we'll catch other fish, not to worry."
"Can't you get the hook out of its mouth?" Vic asked, struggling to keep reeling the powerful fish, his biceps swelling with the effort, and the sweat appearing on his face.
"I'm not." Henry laughed nervously, then noticed Andrew was pressed right up against his side. In the hot, distracting climate, Henry took a step to his right in order to create a gap between them.
"No. Just cut her loose." Burt handed Henry a knife.
"Lord have mercy," Gordon sighed when he caught sight of it through the water. "It's one heck of a fish, Burt."
"Fifteen footer, I'd say, Pops." Burt leaned over the bow to get a better look at it.
"Please be careful," Andrew whispered to Henry as he set the net aside and leaned out over the rail.
"I'm alright," Henry assured him.
"It's a shark, William." Sandra was clinging to Bill near hysteria. "There are sharks in this water. What if we fall in?"
"You won't fall in. Please calm down." Bill wanted to watch the action but kept being distracted by Sandra's theatrics.
As the jaws appeared, lethal and menacing, the fish hovered vertically against the hull. Henry held the heavy line in one gloved hand and readied the knife in the other as Vic grunted with the strain of holding onto the reel and not letting the line go slack.
Acting on instinct, Andrew wrapped around Henry's waist from behind as if securing him in case he lost his balance.
Donna had a pocket camera in her hand. Donna's flash lit and she said, "I got it."
"Cut her loose, Henry." Burt nodded calmly.
Reaching down as close to that treacherous set of teeth as he dared, Henry sawed through the line. The moment it was free, the shark vanished into the depths. When Henry moved to stand upright, he twisted over his shoulder to find Andrew's dazed expression and his hot hands holding on for dear life. "I'm okay. Thanks."
Loving the contact and imagining more, Andrew woke up from his daydream and dropped his hands, backing away. Andrew was unwilling to look at the others at the moment for fear of what they may have thought of his actions. In his mind Andrew dared anyone to accuse him of anything other than being helpful.