A highly accomplished debut avenger, enlivened with conflicted characters and a barnacle-encrusted view of the world. First-novelist Garrison here takes the Elmore Leonard formula--resourceful good folks up against a pair of bad guys, one physically threatening, the other criminally ingenious--to a Pacific island setting. The Stone family--American Michael, his South African wife Sarah, and their precocious ten-year-old daughter Ronnie--sail among the Pacific's forgotten islands, swapping their medical expertise for fuel and supplies. After putting Michael ashore on a tiny atoll to help a dying Micronesian islander, Sarah and Ronnie answer a distress call from a large tanker and find themselves hauled aboard. As the tanker steams away with them, Michael chases in the islander's battered outrigger-and suffers every variety of high-seas bad luck imaginable (he loses his compass; the boom snaps back and knocks him out cold, and so on). At the same time, Sarah is forced by the menacing Moss to tend the gunshot wounds of 78-year-old ""Mr. Jack"" Powell. Mr. Jack, who has more than a grudge against Japan, plans to take his tanker, filled with highly combustible, supercooled liquid natural gas, into Tokyo Bay, where he'll blow everything sky-high. He's betting that the catastrophe will cripple the nation's economy. But first he must contend with Michael, who not only manages to track the tanker but wins back both boat and wife--only to have the wily Mr. Jack handcuff himself to Ronnie as security. Meanwhile, Garrison's take on boat-bum life is grim and fascinating: Sudden death lurks behind spectacular scenery, and every psyche is burdened with an unresolved conflict. Thus, Michael and Sarah go once more into the breech (and the bilge) to save their daughter, and millions of Japanese, from becoming freeze-dried flambÆ’. Nautical lore, colorful island types, dramatic plotting, and blessedly restrained prose.