Customer Reviews: Dark Watch (The Oregon Files)
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VINE VOICEon November 9, 2005
I wanted to enjoy 'Golden Buddha' when it first came out -- I REALLY did...but as another reviewer noted, with Juan Cabrillo and the ENDLESS cast of secondary characters that popped up on virtually every single page, I found myself less concerned with where the plot was going, and more on racking my memory for WHO this person was, and had they been introduced before, or are they brand new? I think ANY time a novel feels the need to place a directory at the beginning of the book to remind you of who is IN the book, and it STILL doesn't help, I think you have an idea of where everything is going to end up.

When all is said and done, I STILL enjoyed the first two Oregon Files novels more than I initially thought I would, but I MUST admit they were well below the usual entertainment I have come to expect from the typical Dirk Pitt novels or the NUMA Files stories. On the opposite side, I discovered Jack Du Brul's books about 5-6 years ago and I instantly recognized him as Cussler's Heir when and if he ever stopped writing full-time (which he basically has now that his son has taken over the Dirk Pitt series, and Paul Kemprecos does the bulk of the NUMA novels). I have had the great fortune of having interviewed Mr. Du Brul in the past and found him to be just one really great guy who loves reading Action/Adventure novels every bit as much as the rest of us. It certainly shows in his Phillip Mercer novels (ALL of which are excellent, by the way). I see a great deal of wisdom in Cussler making a move away from Craig Dirgo as a co-author and adding Du Brul to his stable of incredibly successful tales.

I KNEW 'Dark Watch' would be without-a-doubt the BEST Oregon Files book to date before I even read it. You can tell from virtually the very first page Du Brul's influence over this series. As another reviewer noted, if you want absolute reality, go read Clancy...however, if you are looking to spend several hours in the world of espionage cloaked in a world of tremendous adventure and quite literally dripping with action and quite a bit of humor, this book definitely fills the bill quite nicely.

First and foremost I noticed rapidly that the introduction of a 'Cast of Thousands' has been done away with. Certainly they all still exist, but the need to make every single one a major player in the storyline no longer dilutes the tale. Kudos to Du Brul for making this drastic -- but absolutely necessary change. One can now concentrate on the here and now and better follow everything going on. Once again, if you are looking for a novel which stretches your intellect or helps you come away feeling better about life in general, you may as well look elsewhere...but for me, I simply enjoy a fun book now and again -- especially one that is written with a great deal of talent. 'Dark Watch' is most assuredly one of those tales. I WILL go so far as say that as good as this book is, the Phillip Mercer books are ALL better...(check out Vulcan's Forge, Charon's Landing, The Medusa Stone, Pandora's Curse, River of Ruin and Deep Fire Rising). If you have tried and gave up on the Oregon Files based on the previous two, I think you OWE it to yourself to see how Cussler has in fact redeemed himself -- or rather, see how Jack Du Brul has done it FOR him. Grand adventure well done!
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on November 8, 2005
DuBrul and Cussler Together! What a great read! A great thriller/adventure and what else could you expect when you team up two of the best living thriller writers? Ok its not perfect. It is a bit comic book, but that's to be expected, and a lot of the dialog is cheesy, but over all its an exciting read-much better than other Cussler collaborations. The story involves the Oregon, a top secrete spy ship captained by Juan Cabrillo that is funded by "High Powered" Western interests. Cabrillo and his crew are after a band of modern day Pirates. Commercial freighters are disappearing, N Korea is selling missiles to Syria, the US wants to destroy a commercial ship suspected of carrying a bomb, and oh yeah the world is being threatened by the release of typhoid and cholera-and this is just the start of things! The ending is predictable but this is made up for by the fast pace and the furious action!
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on November 8, 2005
This spin-off series, based on a ship introduced in one of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures, had a rocky start. The first couple of books bogged down in tedious play-by-play. The fact Cussler used a different co-author on each didn't help.

With Dark Watch, Cussler brings Jack DuBrul into the fold, and it's a good fit. Cussler brings a mature voice to the prose, while DuBrul seems to limit some of Cussler's excesses.

Forget the plot. You can read about it elsewhere. I'm concentrating on whether the reader will like it, and I believe the answer is "yes." The characters are engaging and likeable, the action steady, and the pacing very comfortable.

This is not Deighton, Le Carré, Ludlum, or Clancy. This is lightweight techno-thriller stuff, perfect for an evening's entertainment or while travelling during the holidays. I'm encouraging everyone who enjoys Cussler's and DuBrul's work to grab this book.
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on November 1, 2005
Sea Captain Juan Cabrillo and his dangerous crew of the Oregon normally work special mission impossible oceanic tasks for the west with his team's latest assignment to sabotage the Star. As usual success means greater wealth like $10 million courtesy of his Uncle Sam's "black" budget and more difficult requests.

Juan is a bit surprised when Hiroshi Katsui, representing a consortium of Japanese shipping entrepreneurs, hires their services to stop the increasingly bold and deadly activities of pirates working Asiatic waters from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea. Juan plans a strategy to deal with a conglomeration of pirates that he assumes has merged under the control of one bold leader. However, as the Oregon crew learns more, Juan realizes that this case of brazen piracy is much more than just this obvious piratical front. He and the Oregonians may be in too deep to pull off this caper as the opponents have heavy sponsors from around the globe using pirates to increase and hide the lucrative international slave trade.

DARK WATCH, the latest Juan Cabrillo modern day high seas adventure, like its predecessors (see GOLDEN BUDDHA and SACRED STONE), is action-packed and never slows down until the final payout. The story line feels more like a comic book than a novel in nature, but is fun to follow as Juan and crew go from the frying pan to the fire to even hotter scenarios. Though not quite the Pitts, fans of the Oregon Files will enjoy this latest lighthearted caper against North Koreans (who else on the seas?) and an international consortium of "moguls" who use murder as a business tool to enhance their thriving slave operations.

Harriet Klausner
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on November 8, 2005
As a long-time Cussler fan I have to admit the Oregon Files series has been a big disappointment. The Numa Files books are great but this second spin-off fell flat. I never cared about the characters - all five million of them, it seemed - and the plots were cartoonish. I wasn't going to buy Dark Watch except I saw there was another co-writer. Boy am I glad I did. Dark Watch is the book I thought this series should have been from the start. Cussler and Dubrul together have hit a home run. The action starts on page one, accelerates thoughout the entire novel and ends with a scene that had me on the edge of my seat. And we finally get a sense of what makes Juan Cabrillo and his band of mercenaries tick. While they are still developing I can at least understand why they have all this money and still put themselves at risk. The double meaning of the title was terrific.

After finishing it I went out and picked up River of Ruin, one of DuBrul's solo efforts. If anything it surpasses even some of Clive's books. His main character - Philip Mercer - is awesome. So not only can I look forward to a lot more Oregon Files from Cussler/Dubrul but there's a whole other series of books to read.

I'm glad I took that extra second to see Clive had a new co-writer.
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on November 8, 2005
Over the years, Clive Cussler has developed one of the greatest adventure series ever with his Dirk Pitt novels.

And Jack DuBrul is the most brilliant adventure writer at the moment. With his Philip Mercer novels, he simply has no equal.

What happens when these two authors join forces?

An adventure fan's dream come true!

DuBrul takes over the Oregon Files series and produces a stunning yarn with "Dark Watch". Juan Cabrillo and crew retain their flair, but at the same time the characters get new touches as they uncover an international conspiracy in the Far East.

The book is fresh and crisp, and what a fantastic read it is! Breathe in - chapter - breathe out - and it's whizzed by, leaving you short of air.

Can't wait for more from the Cussler/Dubrul duo!
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on January 11, 2006
The Oregon Files have undergone a few changes, but remain basically the same. The storyline of the Corporation, a group of highly specialized individuals who roam the world righting wrongs for fun and profit, has not changed, but there was a lot more character depth here than there was to be found in Sacred Stone, the second Oregon Files adventure. Whereas the previous books had their focus mostly on the doings of the Corporation, this one also delved more deeply into the mind of their leader, Juan Cabrillo.

In this adventure, the Corporation accepts a contract to help stop piracy in Asian waters. They set themselves up for an attack, hoping to get a lead on the heads of the pirate organization, but find themselves in the middle of a mystery instead when they find a container full of bodies and a lone survivor on a submerged ship. It seems that the pirates are also involved in human trafficking and worse, and it takes all the brains and resources the Corporation has to get to the bottom of it and put a stop to the pirates' nefarious activities.

As usual, the Corporation goes about unraveling the mystery from many different angles, played out all over the globe. They pull of a major heist, one of their favorite tricks, and also engage in a number of violent battles with the bad guys before it's all said and done.

For anyone wondering why Craig Dirgo is no longer penning these adventures, an explanation exists in the form of a metaphor: a senior corporation officer has retired, leaving the chairman somewhat at loose ends, though it is underscored that the end of their association was not a bitter one. It was a nice touch.

Though I never had a single complaint about Dirgo's writing, I am a big fan of Jack duBrul, and this series will not suffer at his hands. I merely hope and pray that Mr. duBrul has not retired his excellent Phillip Mercer series, because absolutely nothing would be worth that.
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on January 31, 2006
I read the first Oregon book "Golden Buddha" and hated it. I never thought I would say that about a Clive Cussler novel. I didn't even bother to read the second book. But then a coworker brought this one in and I was so happy to see Jack DuBrul's name on the cover. It made me immediately want to read it. And within the first 15 pages I was hooked. This pairing of authors worked and the story line was interesting and classic Cussler and DuBrul. I will read future books paired by these authors.
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on January 23, 2006
I along with others here tolerated the first two Oregon File books, because they were by Clive Cussler. But without a doubt this is the best one yet. The large cast of characters has been cut and I hope the new character of Tory(Victoria) ends up joining The Corporation. She is smart, sexy and can shoot-them-up just as good as the guys. It was great to finally see the human side of Juan and the chemistry between him and Tory was great. I hope future ones are just as good!
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on April 3, 2015
If there is anyone out there that has not read or listened to any of Clive Cussler's books, they are out of touch with the magic that he brings to life in his writing. The very best reader, Scott Brick, is the most amazing person to listen to no matter what book he is reading for. You believe he is or has been in the situation and makes you feel like it's a first hand conversation. I'm a huge fan of The Oregon Papers and anything with Dirk Pitt and the Numa files so far and they never disappoint me. The Oregon (old, rusty freighter) has so many special effects that keep them out of danger on the high seas however, it's working crew manage to get into enough trouble as soon as you get going in the book.
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