The Bloody Black Flag
A Spider John Mystery #1
Seventh Street Books. September 2017
Avast landlubbers! Author Steve Goble introduces a new detective in this first book of a new series. Spider John Rush, a former pirate, is trying to find his way back to his wife Em and his son Little Johnny, now age eight. Spider had served on a whaling ship and then on a pirate ship. Now he signs on to a ship sailing to Jamaica, in hopes of making some money, with his friend Ezra Coombs.
Ezra and Spider were on Lama, which went down in a storm. Ezra’s grandmother had been hung as a witch and his mother also. Spider’s gram had been burned. It was a bond they shared. The two escaped from Boston ahead of an angry mob. Ezra is accused of being the son of a witch by a tattooed crew member named Tellam from Salem.
Ezra is found dead on deck, with a flask beside him, murdered in cold blood by a shipmate. But which one? In this adventure on the high seas, set in 1722. Spider uses his skills of observation and the tools of his trade as a ship’s carpenter, to discover the murderer. A clever twist on the amateur detective character—fans of historical mysteries and seafaring tales will enjoy sailing with Spider John and the crew.
Reviewed by Susan Belsky, October 2018.