Tour’s Books Blog

February 21, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: A Deadly Silver Sea by Bob Morris

I see a title like A Deadly Silver Sea and the first thing I think of is Travis Magee, John D. MacDonald’s iconic Florida investigator. Perhaps Morris was trying to channel MacDonald and Magee into this book. He missed and got Speed/Speed 2 and Keanu Reeves instead.

Bob Morris kicked off his Zack Chasteen series with Bahamarama, followed by Jamaica Me Dead, and Bermuda Schwartz. The first two books were B to B+ territory with Bermuda Schwartz a B-. Solid and entertaining enough that I bought this book in hardcover shortly after release. Unfortunately, something that started out with a decent plot took a strange left turn and the denouement was just downright silly.

Zack Chasteen, former NFL’er, ex-con (he was pardoned and paid off) and his wife, classy and very pregnant travel magazine editor, Nancy Pickering are being treated to an inaugural cruise aboard the ultra exclusive Royal Star. This state of the art super deluxe luxury ship has every comfort and safeguard in place, but didn’t count on a sleeper agent in the engine room. Soon, the crew not a part of the takeover are dead, the passengers are rounded up, men and women separated, and heavily armed crew members are taking money and jewelry away. Zack ends up trapped in a cabin with the slimy businessman Ron Diamond, who tries to buy his way off the ship, abandoning passengers to their fate, the elderly Royal Star designer Hurku Linblom and Kane Kinsey, a not very bright, but very good looking actor.

Zack starts doing what he does best – always trying to figure a way out. Everything goes well to page 133, where Zack jumps overboard to avoid getting shot by a trigger happy crew member. Zack survives his fall to the sea and watches the ship disappear as he fruitlessly tries to catch it. From here on, Zack’s tale gets completely unbelievable. Suffice it to say he eventually gets picked up, convinces his rescuers to go after the ship, finds the ship, catches the ship and gets back on board. At this point I was flashing back to Speed 2, one of the worst movies of all time.

Morris paints an unflattering but all too believable picture of the cruise industry and he has a secure grasp on the technology he plays so deftly with on the ship. Unfortunately, this was not one of Morris’ best efforts at plotting and the action/thriller sections were just not compelling enough to overlook their fundamental absurdity.

As the action moves between Zack and the others, the book jumps between first person and third person narrative. It’s a little distracting. Will I buy the next book in hardcover? Not if there is any mention of a terrorist. I would deeply appreciate it if Zack and Morris left the terrorists to Mitch Rapp and Vince Flynn.

My Grade: C-

Who would enjoy this book:  Fans of James Bond, action movies starring Dennis Hopper, Keanu Reeves or Sandra Bullock, and action/thriller readers.  The Rating is PG-17

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