Cussler and Morrison open The Oregon Files and relate another action-adventure featuring Juan Cabrillo and his merry men.
Oregon looks like tramp steamer, but the rust disguises a sophisticated terrorist-fighting ship. Ever poised to save the world, Cabrillo and crew are in Venezuela to intercept weapons marked for North Korea by a rogue admiral, Dayana Ruiz, "ready to sacrifice anyone or anything." They’ll meet Ruiz again, but not before Cabrillo and crew escape attempted assassination in Jamaica, rescue the freighter Cuidad Bolívar from drone minisubs (the title piranhas) in the Caribbean, dodge C4 bombs in New York City, and survive a car-chase crashfest and shootout in Berlin. Cabrillo jets to Berlin to uncover an obscure physics paper written by a scientist killed in the 1902 eruption of Martinique’s Mount Pelée. The Einstein-plus smart, double-Ph.D. villain, Lawrence Kensit, "a mousy fellow with a stooped gait and an acne-scarred face," is always two steps ahead, having constructed a see-anything-anywhere device, Sentinel, a "neutrino telescope." The subatomic science is superficial, but Sentinel’s secreted in an impregnable Haitian cave filled with "selenium infused with copper impurities." With Haitian Hector Bazin, once an abused restavec (child servant) and former French Foreign Legionnaire, as his enforcer, Kensit plans to install a corrupt politician in the American vice presidency as his first step in taking over the U.S. and then the world. From QF-16 drones directed to knock the vice president’s 747 into the Caribbean to the Exocet and 3M-54 Klub missile shootout between Ruiz and Cabrillo, the action is supercharged, exciting enough to dress up the sci-fi plot and drown out the clank of dialogue like "you’ll discover my retribution is swift and mighty."
One-dimensional characters but standard Cussler and Co. multidimensional action.