The writing in this novella is lean and economical. It tells a tale that sets the hook and guides the reader through several surprises to the final reveal. For me, this book belongs on the same shelf with "The Ledge" (1959) by Lawrence Sargent Hall, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (1952) by Ernest Hemingway and "To Build A Fire" (1908) by Jack London. As a teenager, Les Galloway (1912-1990) shipped out to New Zealand as a seaman and a few years later, dropped out of college to enlist in the Bolivian army. Most of his life he was a commercial fisherman out of San Francisco. His stories were published in Esquire and Prairie Schooner.
Several years ago, Yannick Murphy (The Sea of Trees, 1997; Signed, Mata Hari, 2007) recommended Lawrence Sargent Hall's (1915-1983) short story, "The Ledge," to me. She did me a favor. This story continues to resonate over time and after successive readings. Published in 1959, "The Ledge" won first place in the O. Henry Prize Collection of 1960 and has appeared in dozens of anthologies since that time. Hall's lean, vivid prose establishes a reliable sense of place and time. His flawed and fallible characters are compelling. And "The Ledge" has a narrowness of time and event that focuses the mind and holds that focus. It also has a strong point of view, clarity of theme and premise, and poetry of natural detail. I mention it here in case you haven't already read it and are looking for inspiration.
Lawrence Sargent Hall also published the novel The Stowaway in 1960.