The Black Mast Murder by Alex P. Berg – 4 stars
Deep in the Caribbean, in the year 1682, an ill wind stirs. Pirates ride the ocean swells—chief among them the bloodthirsty crew of the Black Mast. They seek justice…and revenge.
Now only one man can stop them: former constable and privateer John Malarkey. To save himself and his beloved wife Gwen, John must confront a dark secret from his own past, and potentially betray his oldest, dearest friend.
Action and intrigue rule the high seas in this Pirates of the Caribbean-style adventure featuring romance, curses, ghosts, gods, and more.
Pirates! Adventure! Mystery! I enjoyed this story of one man’s quest to unravel intrigue related to his past. John is an entertaining protagonist, and Gwen and Tom are charming secondary characters. I liked the range of pirates presented, from relatively good to downright black-hearted. The story managed to take me by surprise in a few places without being jarring or confusing.
The rich, vivid descriptions occasionally veer a bit more purple than my tastes prefer, though it seems appropriate for the setting and style. It reminded me a great deal of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, in that it’s ridiculous and funny and swashbuckling. The banter is wonderful. This is a very different style than Daggers & Steele, one with different tone and flavor. Like mango and papaya as compared to bangers and mash.
There were a few more typos than I could ignore, but I only had to pause and re-read a scant few of times. Overall, this didn’t bother me much.
I recommend this story for folks who like fantasy pirate stories. because that’s what it is and it’s a good one.