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The Crackie

by Gary Collins

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list price: $19.95
also available: eBook
category: Fiction
published: 2018
publisher: Flanker Press

Jake is born at the turn of the twentieth century on a small outport island on the northeast coast of Newfoundland with a full head of red hair. There is no one else on the island or in the vicinity with red hair. Jake also develops a bad speech impediment. Scorned, abused physically and mentally by his father for his stuttering tongue and especially for his doubtful parentage, Jake endures.

Then still a boy, Jake is found alone in a punt upon an empty sea, on the fishing grounds without his father, whose fate is suspect. Jake lies about his age and secures a berth aboard the SS Stephano, captained by the infamous "Old Man" of the seal hunt, Abram Kean, where Jake witnesses first-hand the brutal SS Newfoundland disaster of 1914. On the ice, Jake comes face to face with one of the Newfoundland's sealers known as The Culler. He is a mirror image of Jake—complete with red hair. The Culler is ordered, with the other Newfoundland sealers, away from the Stephano in a brewing storm. Jake never finds out if he is one of the survivors or not.

Returning from the seal hunt with far fewer dollars than he expected, he learns evidence has been hauled from the sea bottom which could incriminate him in his father's death. Jake lies about his age again and flees to the First World War. In the diseased filth and terror of a Gallipoli trench, he loses a limb. Upon returning from the war, Jake, now crippled, learns The Culler had not only survived the Newfoundland disaster but is living on his island, where it seems the two are destined to meet again.

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About the Author

Gary Collins

Gary Collins was born in Hare Bay, Bonavista North. He spent forty years in the logging and sawmilling business with his father, Theophilus, and son Clint. Gary was once Newfoundland’s youngest fisheries guardian. He managed log drives down spring rivers for years, spent seven seasons driving tractor-trailers over ice roads and the Beaufort Sea of Canada’s Western Arctic, and has been involved in the crab, lobster, and cod commercial fisheries. In 2016, he joined the Canadian Rangers. Gary’s writing career began when he was asked to write eulogies for deceased friends and family. Now a critically acclaimed author, he has written twelve books, including the children’s illustrated book What Colour is the Ocean?, which he co-wrote with his granddaughter, Maggie Rose Parsons. That book won an Atlantic Book Award: The Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. His book Mattie Mitchell: Newfoundland’s Greatest Frontiersman has been adapted for film. Gary Collins is Newfoundland and Labrador’s favourite storyteller, and today he is known all over the province as “the Story Man.” His favourite pastimes are reading, writing, and playing guitar at his log cabin. He lives in Hare Bay, Newfoundland, with his wife, the former Rose Gill. They have three children and three grandchildren.
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