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Pirate Alley: A Jake Grafton Novel (Jake Grafton Novels) Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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After a decade-long absence, Coonts’ first and most popular protagonist, Jake Grafton, returns to action, ably assisted by Tommy Carmellini, who in addition to costarring in a few previous Grafton novels has also top-lined a handful of books of his own. When a cruise ship is taken by Somali pirates, Jake and Tommy attack the problem on different fronts, Jake trying to broker a truce with the pirate overlord while Tommy spearheads an undercover mission to rescue the hostages. Full of action and anchored by a pair of strong protagonists (not to mention an equally strong supporting cast, most notably the captain of the cruise ship), this one will definitely appeal to Coonts’ legion of fans, who have been eagerly awaiting the return of Grafton and Carmellini. Coonts is one of those writers whose name on the cover pretty much guarantees a certain level of quality, and he doesn’t disappoint here. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The track record tells the story: there have been 16 New York Times best-sellers with Coonts’ name on the spine. --David Pitt
“Stephen Coonts proves once again, he is the master of the ship. This time in the terrorist infested high seas where Grafton and Carmellini, are fully-kitted, synched, and on target. Pirate Alley is full-steam-ahead, action-packed, chaotic, and final--but with black cladded Navy SEALs in the mix, the fight is anything but fair.” ―Dalton Fury, New York Times bestselling author of Kill Bin Laden
“Pirate Alley is fast-moving, scary, and realistic. Starting with a bang, it then gets even better. Steve gives us real pirates, not Johnny Depp with eye shadow.” ―Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Exit Plan
“The one-sit read champion of the season, Stephen Coonts's Pirate Alley races though a maritime terrorist attack in the Red Sea, creating a vivid cast of heroes, victims and villains. It has the feel of a documentary but the soul of an intimate drama, a trick that's extremely hard to pull off.” ―Stephen Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of I, Sniper, Point of Impact and The Third Bullet
“Steve Coonts is a masterful storyteller--and PIRATE ALLEY his most chilling thriller yet. Never will you see the duplicity of world politics--let alone cruise ships and Somali bandits--in the same light again.” ―W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV, bestselling authors of EMPIRE AND HONOR and THE LAST WITNESS
“Start with a band of ruthless Somali pirates in a story that has too often shown up on the front pages of the New York Times, add Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, plus a heavy dose of SEALs on the hunt, and Stephen Coonts's new novel PRIATE ALLEY is one hell of a read! A tale of modern day swashbucklers whose leader is the most ruthless pirate since Blackbeard makes for a book you simply cannot put down. Hats off to Steve for another rip roaring story.” ―David Hagberg, author of Abyss
“A great, realistic read that could mirror current events. Coonts details this ship high-jacking and take-down as if he has first hand experience WITH the SEAL Teams. After reading this, you will want to postpone that cruise that goes anywhere near the Horn of Africa.” ―Howard Wadsin, author of Seal Team Six
“Stephen Coonts takes another master turn with Pirate Alley. . . . Coonts weaves a realistic and frightening multi-layered story. . . . The buildup and final denouement will cost more than a few readers a good night's sleep--and change the way you view pirates, cruise ships and Washington forever.” ―Jim DeFelice, best-selling author of American Sniper and The Helios Conspiracy
“Start Pirate Alley at your peril and then plan for a long night. You won't be able to put it down....Filled with the courage and smarts of Stephen Coonts' SEAL Team heroes.” ―Former Defense Secretary William Cohen
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This one focuses on a real, major problem - piracy in the Indian Ocean off the coast of lawless Somalia. Coonts' treatment of it is quite realistic.
A large cruise ship is captured by pirates. Although both the ship's and nearby naval fleets see the attack coming, there's only so much they can do to try to repel it, and they fail. The fleet is too far away, its choppers don't have the range and are too vulnerable to small arms fire, and fighter planes can't fire on the attackers once they get close to the ship.
Meanwhile, civilian leaders in Washington micromanage rescue attempts, overruling the choices of recurring series character Toad Tarkington, now the fleet's rear admiral. Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, who is already on the ground in Somalia on another mission, have to stage a daring attempt to free the hostages who are now ashore in a lawless pirate's lair.
Coonts has a good feel for the pirates: their willingness to kill hostages and, indeed, need to to instill fear in the others and back off any approaching military; their indiscipline leading to rape; their mental calculus when it comes to hostages, ransom and how much risk they're willing to take.
Obviously, years had elapsed from previous stories. Coonts missed the opportunity to create new stories as Grafton, Tarkington, and Carmellini progressed in their careers. Stephen, why?
Coonts fans will find an old friend, ex-naval aviator Jake Grafton, once again being tapped by Washington's weak-kneed politicos to tackle the near-impossible: Negotiate the release of cruise ship passengers and crew members kidnapped by brutal Somalian pirates. Or, if Plan A fails, kill the pirates and their Islamic jihadist allies...without endangering a single hostage, of course.
Grafton calls on his favorite snarky CIA operative, Tommy Carmellini, to handle tough sneak-and-peek intelligence gathering tasks, while Jake manipulates the chief buccaneer with multimillion-dollar assurances. Coonts raises the stakes via dangerous double-dealing and gut-wrenching gambles, until Navy SEALS, a batch of Brit and U.S. marines and deadly snipers start blowing things up. The raw, shocking brutality of kat-chewing pirates is answered by stealthy good-guys armed with high-tech tools and weapons.
Throughout "Pirate Alley," Coonts also treats readers to Carmellini's snappy humor, such as this entreaty of Grafton: "I hope you intend to send me somewhere that has ceramic conveniences and toilet paper."