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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chased by...just about everyone, it seems., September 14, 2011
This review is from: Hurricane (Paperback)
Jack Stewart is one of Ken Douglas's many pseudonyms. He is also an excellent, though unheralded, author. His books are exciting and intense and each one I have read has held my attention from beginning to end.

Julie Tanaka's husband died in a boat explosion. Julie is in shock when DEA agent Bill Broxton shows up at the dock with questions about her husband and why he was on a boat with known drug traffickers. Julie later learns that the explosion and subsequent sinking of the boat also caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in drugs. Julie's shock increases when a man appears the next day with papers that permit him to take her boat, Fallen Angel. Fortunately, a police officer who happened to be there about a body that Julie and her daughter, Meiko, saw the day before, stops the man from taking her boat. The police officer kindly suggests that she leave immediately if she wants to keep her boat. Thus begins 329 pages of sea chases, interrupted only briefly by shore action.

It makes little sense to Julie as to why so many people want Fallen Angel. It is just a boat. Of course, if there is something valuable on the boat, that could explain all the interest. Then there was the coin that Meiko found on a small island near Trinidad. It seems that the same people interested in Fallen Angel are also interested in the coin. Why would anyone want a coin, though it did have some numbers inscribed on it?

Julie and Meiko have little time to ponder their unanswered questions because they need to run from the numerous people after their boat, and now them. It seems fortuitous that Victor, someone Meiko likes, is willing to help them get their boat away from Trinidad. It seems that someone has sabotaged Fallen Angel and it is only with a little luck and quick thinking that Julie, Meiko and Victor are able to continue. Except, Julie thinks there is something strange about Victor. She is even more convinced when the Fallen Angel's diesel engine starts showing signs of trouble and Victor flies back to Trinidad, supposedly to get a diesel mechanic. A local mechanic solves the problem within a couple of hours and Fallen Angel is nearly as good as new, except for other things that someone might have sabotaged.

Bill Broxton has problems of his own. One minute he is a DEA agent. The next minute, multiple people are trying to kill him and someone is trying to frame him for something. One thing is sure; Bill Broxton is no longer a DEA agent. Instead, he is now a criminal on the run from law enforcement as well as drug lords. Fortunately, many good people in the world have little use for either drug lords or crooked law enforcement and Bill Broxton and Julie Tanaka get help from quite a few of those good people. They will need all the help they can get.

The chase is fast and furious and there are many narrow escapes as Julie and Meiko barely dodge their pursuers time after time. Bill Broxton has similar narrow escapes, but he has a better handle on who is on his side and who is not. Julie, Meiko and Bill will be much better sailors at the end of their journeys, a necessity in view of the prolonged chase.

Lingering in the background is a hurricane with 150 mile per hour winds, a hurricane that could scour islands clean and send boats of all types to the bottom.

Ken Douglas/Jack Stewart grabbed my attention at the very beginning of this book. I originally planned to read the first chapter to get an idea of the plot. When I realized I had reached page 68, I knew I had to stop for a while because I had something else I was supposed to be doing. However, I made time for this book and finished it in two days, which is relatively fast for me considering the length of this book. Every time I put this book down, I wanted to come back to it to see what happened next, particularly to Julie and Meiko.

The only problem I have with books by Ken Douglas (and his alter-egos Jack Stewart and Jack Priest) is that I am going to run out of adjectives in discussing his books. In the books I have read by Ken Douglas thus far, Douglas has been consistent in writing exciting stories that refuse to permit me to put the book down. I hope that each subsequent book I read is as exciting as those I have read thus far.

Is this book, and Douglas's other books, of a style that some people might consider pulp fiction? I think while the excitement is similar to that of pulp fiction stories, I think the development of Julie's character, especially in her admission of shortcomings and willingness to take help when appropriate, and her vast ability to learn and grow, pushes this book into a different realm from pulp fiction. The story has all the excitement and enthusiasm of pulp fiction mated with a deeper story and a reasonable amount of character development, never allowing the story to bog down.

I remember when I first began to read books by Dean Koontz. His writing and his stories captured me and held my attention for hundreds of pages. I get similar excitement from books written by Ken Douglas/Jack Stewart/Jack Priest. I look forward to reading more by Ken Douglas, whom I have to believe has an exciting career as an author ahead of him.

Enjoy!

My thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of his book.
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Location: Columbus, Indiana, United States

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