The Shell Collector
It's October in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Richie Feehan was born and raised and has lived his whole life. He's a part-time lobsterman and full-time painter who sells his art at galleries in Rockport and Newburyport. Between the two jobs he makes enough money to get by, living in an in-law apartment in the family home owned by his brother Jim. Jim runs Feehan & Sons Funeral Home, a business started by their grandfather in 1921.
All in all, despite the tension with his brother, and despite the grumbling of his friends, whose business has suffered because of a lengthy red tide and a spectacularly bad overall fishing season, Richie enjoys his life very much. He's content, and believes that's pretty much all a man can ask from his life.
That is, until a horrible mystery begins to unfold in Gloucester.
Out lobstering, Richie sees something nightmarish in the surf one day, catches a bare glimpse of it beneath the surface. He doesn't dare speak of it for fear of what others might say-he doesn't want to become the town crazy. But he's having a hard time sleeping at night, and several days later, while out hauling in his traps for the winter, Richie finds one of them stuck on something. When he finally hauls it up, there's a corpse attached, a corpse that has been eaten at by sea creatures, including something large . . . the corpse of Greta Wagner, a woman who had been waked at Feehan & Sons two weeks earlier and buried a couple of days later.
Someone stole her corpse from the ground.
And her grave won't be the only one disturbed.
"Golden's chilling novella is set in the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Richie Feehan divides his time between painting houses and trolling for lobsters, as the men in his family before him have done. One day, out on the sea collecting traps, Richie encounters a terrifying sight: a group of shells with glowing orbs that appear to be eyes resting in one of his traps. Richie throws it back into the ocean, but the memory of it haunts him. But when he spots his brother, Jim, who runs the other family business, Feehan & Sons Funeral Home, talking with police about a body disappearing from the graveyard, Richie never imagines the two things would be connected. A horrifying graveyard encounter with the entity known as the Shell Collector proves they are, however, and Richie realizes he must take action or risk losing someone close to him. Despite the tale's brevity, Golden vividly evokes life in a small fishing town and builds the suspense to a terrifyingly vivid conclusion."
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