Navigate Love, Death, and Mystery in the Haunting “Judecca”
A combination of paranormal horror, occult mystery, and romantic drama, Judecca, by Noora Heikkilä and co-written by Jonathan Meecham, tells the story of beleaguered day-laborer Sharky, a denizen of a strange and dangerous harbor town that serves as a port to incoming souls. Populated by lost souls, fish-faced men, frightening psychopomps, and intimidating supernatural creatures, the town appears trapped in time and memory, as its inhabitants toil in the thralls of lust and fear, incapable to move on like the newly dead who arrive to their shore, only to be ferried away by the enigmatic boatman Kharon.
Sharky’s stagnant life is soon to change though, as he becomes entangled in a frightening web of intrigue and violence. Trouble is brewing on the docks as Miuol, the resident silver-tongued Kingpin, searches for a recent disturbance that has upset the tenuous balance of his limbo. He commands the menacing Lilith, a seductress known for ensnaring men and devouring them through witchcraft. Not only has Sharky unwittingly wandered into the paths of these forces, he’s also found himself involved in a slowly blossoming romance with Nayko, a mute girl with a Glasgow smile and a traumatic past. As Nayko and Sharky try to tread the waters of trust and guilt, they will find their bonds tested not only by those who wish them harm, but by the very nature of the world in which they reside.
Rich, enticing, and deliciously sinister, Judecca manages to wrap the gruesome and grim around a center of pure emotional honesty, its characters all achingly broken yet longing for absolution. Ms. Heikkilä and Mr. Meecham have unfurled a setting that is as lushly textured and developed as the people in it, and in doing so have captured the minds of their readers, drawing them ever deeper into the dark, while still managing with their sweet and heartfelt writing to inject a glimmer of hope and beauty even into the murkiest depths.